The former Bok wing is reportedly preparing to take the SuperSport incident to the Equality Court.
JOHANNESBURG – Former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse is reportedly preparing to take the SuperSport incident – which saw him walk off set during a live television broadcast – to the Equality Court.
On May 19, after the Super Rugby match between the Lions and Brumbies, Willemse accused fellow analysts Nick Mallett and Naas Botha of patronising and undermining him and walked out of the studio. Willemse, who decided not to take part in the review by independent advocate Vincent Maleka, has now reportedly opted to take the matter up with the Equality Court, to look further into the incident. His lawyer, Nqobizitha Mlilo, confirmed to several radio stations on Wednesday they would be going to the Equality Court with the matter.
The independent investigation into the matter found no racism at play in the incident and cleared Mallett and Botha of any such wrong-doing, but Willemse – according to findings in the report into the matter – appears adamant racism was at the root of what went down on May 19. In a letter by his lawyer to Maleka he states his belief that racism was the cause of the incident, however Willemse didn’t mention this when interviewed about the incident by SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane and Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela in the days that followed the May 19 walkout.
Maleka notes in his report that Khobane and Mawela asked Willemse whether he viewed the interactions in the SuperSport studio and the conduct of Botha and Mallett on May 19 as being racist, and Willemse reportedly said, no. He also allegedly told them he didn’t believe Mallett and Botha were racists. Willemse also stated he was prepared to continue working with them.
SuperSport have said they will welcome back Mallett and Botha as in-studio analysts in due course and stated they’d also like to have Willemse back on air. Maleka’s report – released on Tuesday – would be sent to the Human Rights Commission for further perusal and action.