Super Rugby

Willemse maintains racism behind his TV walkout - lawyer

Ashwin Willemse (Twitter)
Ashwin Willemse (Twitter)

Cape Town - Former Springbok Ashwin Willemse declined to take part in the SuperSport investigation into his TV walk-out because he felt it was not the right forum to express his viewpoint.

READ: The full Ashwin Willemse studio walk-off report

In a letter written by Willemse’s attorneys to Advocate Vincent Maleka SC - who was tasked with investigating the matter - the 19-Test wing remained adamant that racism had caused his outburst.

Willemse walked off a live television set when he claimed he "felt patronised" by fellow presenters Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.

In his report, Maleka found no suggestions of racism on the part of Mallett and Botha, but expressed regret that Willemse refrained from taking part in the investigation.

In the letter, Willemse’s attorneys maintained “that the May 19 incident was rooted in racism” and that Willemse informed the “CEOs on his submission to that effect”.

Willemse’s attorneys made it clear that “he persists with his view that racism was the cause of the incident and the narrative perpetuated by SuperSport that there was no racism reinforces his view and infringed his human rights and dignity”.

Maleka added that Willemse wanted the right to “redress that infringement in an appropriate forum”.

SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane said they would make an attempt to sit down with Willemse regarding a way forward.

"While SuperSport is disappointed that Ashwin did not participate in Advocate Maleka’s review, it respects his right not to do so," Khobane said.
 
"In the spirit of reconciliation, I will make another attempt to reach out to Ashwin for us to find a mutually-acceptable way forward so that he knows that this issue has been fairly investigated."

READ: Willemse to take SuperSport matter to Equality Court

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