Willemse: I've reached out to Nick, Naas
Cape Town - Former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse says he’s reached out to fellow SuperSport presenters Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.
In May, Willemse walked off a live SuperSport set, accusing fellow analysts Mallett and Botha of "patronising" and "undermining" him.
SuperSport’s subsequent investigation into the matter found no racism on the part of Willemse co-workers.
Willemse would not engage with SuperSport in the broadcaster's own investigation into the incident and instead said he would take the matter to the equality court, insisting that racism was at the core of the stand-off.
On Tuesday, he was interviewed by Eusebius McKaiser of Radio702 where he explained his decision to remain silent on the matter up to this point.
In the interview, Willemse also said he stood by his view that the incident was rooted in racism.
“I’ve reached out to Nick and Naas because I’ve seen the effect on my family, and so I can understand (it would be the same for them). I don’t think it will compromise the process unfolding... I reached out on the premise of reconciliation. I would engage in the same spirit with all parties involved, including employers SuperSport. It’s now about the restoration and provision for people’s equality and human rights to be respected.”
Willemse confirmed he was advised by his legal representatives to take the matter to the equality court.
“Upon reflection, I have indicated to my legal team that we should honour, and we will to that effect write to the human rights commission that we would honour the submission that SuperSport has indicated that they would now send to the human rights commission, based on the report and the findings of Advocate Maleka and that process... so we will honour that and participate in that process, ensuring we can deal with that matter because I will be allowed to go there and engage it at that appropriate forum. And in that process hopefully restore my dignity.
“I’m hoping that the process undertaken will legitimise or illegitimise what we believe is our genuine pain. I’ve been clear to SuperSport that I believe that this incident was rooted in racism, and their unwillingness to accept that is not my doing. So, let’s take this to an appropriate forum, and let an institution that is there for the purpose of dealing with these matters tell me whether or not I have legitimate reason to feel the pain that I have.”