Three things you might have missed about the Ashwin Willemse report

20 June 2018 - 12:16 By Nico Gous
Ashwin Willemse.
Ashwin Willemse.
Image: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

SuperSport announced on Tuesday that Nick Mallett and Naas Botha have been cleared of racism allegations by advocate Vincent Maleka’s report into Ashwin Willemse's studio walkout on May 19.

SuperSport chief executive officer Gideon Khobane said the report found that Mallett and Botha were not racist and they did not exhibit any unintended or subtle racism.

Khobane also said Willemse did not take part when the report was being compiled.

Willemse walked off set after the conclusion of the Lions/Brumbies Super Rugby match that took place at Ellis Park. He spoke of being labelled a “quota player” and refused to be “patronised by two individuals who played in an apartheid/segregated era”. He went on to say he “can't work with people who undermine other people” and that he was “glad it happened on live TV so that people can see”.

Ashwin Willemse slams Nick Mallett and Naas Botha before walking off the SuperSport set.

Here are three things you might have missed about the report:

1. SuperSport prefers that black analysts operate the touch screen‚ because of its “sophistication” and to “undermine the publicly-held view that they do not have the technical skill set or craft to operate sophisticated equipment such as the touchscreen and telestrate through it”.

Maleka said, however, the layout of the studio creates the impression that the black analyst operates on the instruction of the other analysts. “There is a need to avoid the above silent messages without dispensing with the use of the touchscreen. That can be done by rotating the touchscreen operators across the colour line."

2. Mallett told SuperSport he prefers not to work with Willemse. The report quotes an e-mail Mallet sent to executive producer Scott Steward on October 6, 2016‚ in which he said it would “great” if the “complex” Willemse were moved to the morning show.

“I think he talks garbage‚ we irritate the hell out of each other and the working environment is just unpleasant and tense.”

Maleka recommended that SuperSport should investigate these complaints “through a credible process to avoid a continuing or lingering dissatisfaction”.

3. Mallett corrected Willemse‚ Botha and other colleagues’ use of the English language.

“Mallett accepted that he corrected Willemse’s use of English on one occasion. He indicated that that is not unusual as he adopts the same stance in respect of other fellow commentators across the colour line‚” the report found. “It is a personality trait which he developed from his father‚ who was an educationalist‚ and was reinforced when he too became an English teacher.”