International Rugby

Willemse speaks up for the first time since SuperSport incident

Aswhin Willemse, following an extended silence after his walking off of live TV on May 19th, has spoken publicly for the first time.

The walk off saw Willemse accuse fellow presenters Naas Botha and Nick Mallet of “patronising” and “undermining” him. He also referred to them as players from the apartheid era.

SuperSport subsequently launched an investgiation, which then found no racism from Mallet or Botha in relation top the incident.

Willemse refused to engage  SuperSport in the broadcaster’s own investigation into the incident, instead saying he would take the matter to the equality court, insisting that racism was at the core of the stand-off.

In an interview with Eusebius McKaiser of Radio702 Willemse explained his silence.

“Firstly I attended the hearings. We clarified with the advocate, senior council (Vincent) Maleka, on exactly what this matter is and the terms of reference. We weren’t comfortable with the terms of reference, we felt that it did not allow us to deal with everything we’d like them to deal with.

“It was voluntary, so we decided not to participate, we did indicate to him that this is not the appropriate forum. And in terms of the silence, I had nothing to say at that stage because I understand the magnitude of what has transpired and what it has started. It’s evident on my Twitter timeline, on my Facebook inbox… the messages, the media articles, the commentary… so I understand this moment and what it has started.”

Willemse insisted that it was a matter that needed to be dealt with.

“I want to make sure that I deal with this matter in the manner in which I have always intended to, which was appropriately. Because at the end of the day, it’s not a light matter. I see this in young people coming up to me saying ‘thank you for standing up for me’.

“So I understand what we’re dealing with here and I don’t want to use this as something frivolous. It’s legitimate pain. So my silence was a case of me allowing the process to unfolded up until a point where we can deal with this matter in the appropriate manner in which I indicated right from the onset to SuperSport. And we’ve not been granted that opportunity as of yet.”

In terms of legal advisory, Willemse had the following to say.

“Upon reflection, I have indicated to my legal team that we should honour, and we will to that effect write to the human right commission that we would honour the submission that SuperSport has indicated that they would now send to the human right 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.”

On the topic of racism, he referred to it as a grey area.

“That grey… we all go through it, we all experience it…”

The full interview

Ashwin Willemse in conversation with Eusebius McKaiser

Speaking for the first time since walking off the SuperSport set, Ashwin Willemse in conversation with Eusebius McKaiser.

Posted by 702 on Tuesday, 10 July 2018

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