Cape Town – Ettienne Scheepers, whose wife and two children died after their vehicle allegedly plunged down a cliff near Herolds Bay last month, has accepted the apology of the administrator of the Facebook page "Murder She Wrote Investigations and Discussion".
Scheepers had claimed through his attorneys the comments and discussions on the page were nothing more than a platform where he is being defamed, causing him and his business interests reputational harm.
On Tuesday, Tess Matthews posted on the page: "As the founder of this group, I Tess Matthews issue a formal apology, to Mr Ettienne Scheepers for the members of this group implicating him in harming his wife and children. The post and comments spun out of control and spread like wildfire.
"A Witch hunt started by some members. As founder of the group, I undertake not to post anything regarding Mr Scheepers and his late family.
"Should there in the future be any further developments pertaining this case, we will report what is reported in the Media.
"We urge the group not to refer to the case in any other manner. If you are a member of this group and belong to any other groups be it Facebook or WhatsApp, who are discussing this. Please do remove yourself off the group.
"Once again we extend our apologies to Ettienne Scheepers."
Some of the discussions and posts on the Facebook page had accused Scheepers of killing his wife, plotting her murder, having an affair and driving his wife to suicide.
Algoa FM reported that a consultant attorney at Chimes van Wyk, Donald Curtis, said the apology is accepted and that, at this stage, no further legal steps will be taken, even though the apology was published after the deadline of 2pm on Thursday and not in the exact words that were requested.
The page had been run by three administrators, but two administrators, Chantal Strydom Dobson and Diane van Rensburg, have since been removed from the page. However, their removal as administrators does not mean they will avoid liability.
According to a legal expert, the courts will look at who the admins were during the relevant time, should legal steps be taken in future.
Southern Cape police have called off the search for the missing 6-year-old Cuzette Scheepers.
The bodies of Cuzette’s 2-year-old brother Hugo and her 35-year-old mother Heidi were found in the sea – at the bottom of a 100m cliff at Voëlklip beach – after they had gone missing with their VW Caravelle on October 22.
The Scheepers family lived close to Voëlklip beach and went missing after going for a walk at about 6pm, initially accompanied by Ettienne, owner of the Herolds Bay Café.