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Jantjies breaks silence on his affair and drug rehab clinic claim

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Haag/PA Images via Getty Images)

Out-of-favour Springboks fly-half Elton Jantjies has broken his recent silence, reportedly owning up to having an affair with national team dietician Zeenat Simjee but denying enrolling into a drug rehabilitation clinic. With the Springboks now one game into their four-Test European tour, Jantjies and his wife have given an interview to News24 detailing what they claim caused the player’s axing from the South African squad.

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It was in September, shortly after the Springboks had arrived in Buenos Aires for their round five Rugby Championship match, when a media report emerged that Jantjies was allegedly having an affair with his team’s dietician and that the pair had stayed together in a Mbombela guesthouse before the South African round one TRC Test against the All Blacks in August.

At the time, the allegation of an affair having taken place was denied but Iva Ristic, Jantjies’ wife, has now confirmed that an affair did take place as her husband said so. Elton Jantjies also addressed a separate media report that he had recently checked into a drugs rehabilitation clinic. Instead, he admitted to checking into the Harmony Clinic rehabilitation centre in Cape Town due to rugby injuries and to treat his insomnia.

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“I deeply regret allowing them to tell a story that I should have clearly handled myself,” said Jantjies, the currently surplus-to-requirement Springboks player about what was said on his behalf when the alleged affair controversy first broke. “The statement put out into the media was not written by me; I understand that at the time, a statement needed to be issued on the articles being published about me

“I also noted that I was portrayed to be a drug addict with mental health issues. I can proudly say I have no mental health issues, and I was never in a rehab centre for drug abuse… I am working on clearing my name of the slander I have been experiencing lately. I am deeply saddened that I was not cast to go and play with my team because of my injuries and because I did not get enough game time during the year.

“This has not been an easy ride for me. I’ve had to take a really hard look at my life and the choices I made in the past,” he added regarding his marriage. “I know my actions have caused a great deal of pain to everyone, especially my wife who has always been by my side. I have apologised to her and have made it my mission to make it up to her for as long as I live.

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Regarding the allegation of the affair, Jantjies’ wife said: “I always had my suspicions because there were plenty of times when I would wonder where his money is going. The multiple flights booked for the two of them only and the separate hotels they have been booking for months when on the Boks tour was just one of the many signs that this affair was going on for a while.

“I am hurt and deeply disappointed in both of them. I understand that the affair has been going on for very long, but right now we just want to do right by the kids and move on. This chapter of our lives has been dragging on for too long and I just want it to be done so we can all move on. I don’t think I will ever be romantically involved with Elton again.”

The News24 report added that efforts to contact dietician Simjee had come to nothing. “Numerous attempts to reach Simjee, including on social media, were unsuccessful,” it said.

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