Sun, 24 Mar 2019

Cape Town - Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse remains adamant that his sensational TV walkout earlier this year was brought about by racism.

In May, Willemse stunned the rugby world when he walked off a live SuperSport set, accusing fellow analysts Nick Mallett and Naas Botha of "patronising" and "undermining" him.

SuperSport's subsequent investigation into the matter found no racism on the part of Botha or Mallett. Willemse, however, opted not to participate in the investigation.

Instead, he took the matter to the South African Human Rights Commination (SAHRC), who earlier this week confirmed that they would conduct a formal and public inquiry into allegations of racism at SuperSport.

In an interview with eNCA (WATCH below), Willemse said he stands by his initial beliefs.

"I fundamentally believe that this issue was rooted in racism. And I would like this to be dealt with at an appropriate forum, or appropriate manner," he said in a video snippet released on eNCA's Twitter page.

Willemse added that he was confident that the commission would find in his favour.

"I'm very confident in the Human Rights Commission... it's an institution that is wholly responsible for the custodianship of human rights and human rights-related violations and issues... the promotion thereof within South Africa and the democratic dispensation of South Africa..."

He added: "My confidence stems not from necessarily my position or the situation but it stems from the foundation of our liberation as a democratic, non-sexist, non-racist society equal in opportunities for all South Africans... our constitution is regarded as one of the best constitutions in the world."

SuperSport, meanwhile, has agreed to cooperate in the SAHRC's inquiry into alleged racism at the broadcaster.

MultiChoice's Group Executive for Corporate Affairs, Joe Heshu, told Sport24 via email on Wednesday:

"SuperSport has cooperated fully with the SA Human Rights Commission since the broadcaster referred the Ashwin Willemse matter to the Commission.

"This followed the completion of an independent investigation instituted by SuperSport and conducted by Advocate Vincent Maleka SC into the circumstances surrounding the former presenter walking off the set of a live broadcast.

"Adv Maleka SC found that the walk-off was not the result of racism. He recommended that the matter be referred to the Commission.

"SuperSport will participate fully in the enquiry to be conducted by the Commission and maintains its firm view that racism did not play a role in this matter."

The inquiry starts in February next year and is expected to run up until the end of June.

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