JOHANNESBURG - Ashwin Willemse is scheduled to meet the management of SuperSport and MultiChoice today (Friday) in an effort to resolve the matter that resulted in him walking off set during a live television broadcast on May19.
Willemse’s lawyer, Nqobizitha Mlilo, says his client wants access to the e-mails sent by his fellow rugby analysts to executive producers and managers, and their responses and replies. “Ashwin became aware of these e-mails about him for the first time in the (Advocate Vincent) Maleka report. We want to have access to them and what the responses were that followed,” said Mlilo.
In Maleka’s report, he mentions an e-mail sent by Nick Mallett, in October 2016, to executive producer Scott Steward that states: “It would be great if Ashwin could be moved to the morning show where we don’t have to work together. I think he talks garbage, we irritate the hell out of each other and the working environment is unpleasant and tense.” Maleka also references other e-mails sent by Mallett to managers and producers in September last year and April this year.
Maleka on Monday released a 50-page report into the incident on May19, when Willemse told in-studio analysts Mallett and Naas Botha he would not be patronised and undermined by two people who played their rugby in the apartheid years. The incident sparked a massive debate around racism in the country, and led to the three former Springbok players being taken off air.
Having interviewed all those who were present in the studio on May19, Maleka found no evidence of racism and cleared Mallett and Botha to return to work. But Willemse didn’t participate in the investigation, alleging the process was flawed.
He claimed that from the beginning racism was at play during the on- air and off-air talk between the three men, and objected to SuperSport’s statement two days afterwards that there was no evidence of racism. Mlilo confiirmed that the parties were scheduled to meet at 9am today.