Cape Town - Civil rights organisation AfriForum on Monday wrote an open letter to SuperSport requesting the pay-channel’s policy on freedom of speech to be put in writing.
This follows media reports that SuperSport will no longer be making use of former Springbok flyhalf Derick Hougaard’s services after comments he made on Twitter regarding transformation in sport.
SuperSport denied the rumours behind their decision.
AfriForum’s letter was aimed at Gideon Khobane, the CEO of SuperSport.
AfriForum’s CEO, Kallie Kriel, wrote in the letter that there was uncertainty over SuperSport’s position on freedom of speech.
“The conclusion that can be made is that SuperSport won’t tolerate any criticism of the governing party’s political agenda,” a post on AfriForum’s official website reads.
In the statement, Kriel commented: “If this is the case, it boils down to a gross violation of freedom of speech.”
The post concluded with: "Kriel adds that, although racially-motivated transformation in the form of representativeness and race quotas is the current politically-correct viewpoint in South Africa, it is important to note that this viewpoint is not only immoral, but also that the emphasis on race quotas to the detriment of merit destroys performance. The policy also comes down to a violation of international law regarding equality in sport."
SuperSport’s spokesperson, Clinton van den Berg, told Netwerk24 that Khobane is currently abroad and will comment on the matter in due course.
Hougaard was a regular panellist on Afrikaans weekly rugby show, SuperRugby, which airs on Monday nights.
He has also been a commentator on rugby games, but has not appeared on television in the last few months.
Over the weekend, Hougaard said on his Facebook page that he was dismissed after SuperSport received complaints from a government minister regarding a series of transformation-related tweets he sent out after the Springboks’ loss to Italy in November.
Van den Berg said that Hougaard had been a freelancer.
“As is the case with all of SuperSport’s freelancers, we decide at our own discretion if we use Derick on air or not."
According to Van den Berg, there was also never a complaint from government regarding Hougaard.