The pay television sports broadcaster found itself entangled in a racial storm after an explosive letter from MVMT Attorneys on behalf of some black anchors, presenters and commentators accusing the channel of racism and victimisation was leaked to the media.
Among the accusations were that their white counterparts had been given hefty long-term contracts with guaranteed pay, while most of the black presenters and commentators were working without contracts and some were only given one-year contracts.
SuperSport allegedly received the letter of complaint late in May and had been attending to the issue, which was allegedly escalated to former chief executive Imtiaz Patel to help resolve.
The four black SuperSport presenters are: long-serving anchor Xola Ntshinga, former Springbok hooker Owen Nkumane, former Cheetahs flank and Xhosa presenter and commentator Kaunda Ntunja and former Springbok centre Gcobani Bobo.
However, in late afternoon talks between chief executive Gideon Khobane and the disgruntled presenters and commentators at the Randburg studios, the parties seemed to have reached agreement.
“They have resolved all the main concerns raised amicably, and all parties are committed to continuously create a harmonious working environment,” Khobane said.
He also denied that racism had anything to do with the presenters’ and commentators’ gripes with the broadcaster, and said their issues had already been under investigation by the time their letter had leaked to the media.
Speaking on behalf of the commentators and presenters, Owen Nkumane said: “We are happy with the way the whole process has been conducted by SuperSport. We have achieved our goals as a collective of a conducive working environment at SuperSport.”
Reacting to SuperSport’s statement, Tobias said: “I would have been happy if Willemse was included in the set-up. They cannot smoke a peace pipe without Willemse and the other two role-players who are not included in this because it originated out of the Willemse saga.
“He (Willemse) and Naas and Nick Mallet should be included in this whole situation. It will be interesting to hear their reaction to this decision. They cannot go forward if they don’t include Ashwin, Naas and Nick.”
This latest scandal comes hot on the heels of the Willemse incident, which saw the former Springbok wing walk off during a live TV broadcast
Willemse, who maintains that racism played a part in the incident, did not testify in the SuperSport investigation which cleared Mallett and Botha of racism, and is taking the matter to the Equality Court.