CAPE TOWN – After his controversial walkoff from a live SuperSport broadcast, former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse won’t be back on air.
SuperSport confirmed on Thursday that Willemse’s contract had expired, and that “he will not be back on air”.
Willemse, who will turn 37 on Saturday, walked out of the SuperSport studios on May 19 after being part of a panel alongside Naas Botha and Nick Mallett, with Motshidisi Mohono as the presenter.
Willemse felt that he was being undermined by Mallett and Botha.
“I can’t work with people who undermine other people. And you know, you can sit and you can laugh about it…” said Willemse, before Mallett said: “I’m not laughing about it. That’s a ridiculous thing…”
Willemse responded: “That’s fine. I don’t mind being ridiculous. I’m glad it happened on air, so that people can see. You two sit here…” after which Mohono said “Ash” and Willemse added: “No, it’s fine” and walks off.
In a July interview with Eusebius Mackaiser on Radio 702, Willemse said he felt that the “incident was rooted in racism”, and that he was heading to the SA Human Rights Commission to “restore his dignity”, after initially suggesting that he may go to the Equality Court.
A SuperSport inquiry into the matter, conducted by Advocate Vincent Maleka, found that there was no racism involved, but that the report should be sent to the SAHRC for consideration.
While that process is still continuing, Willemse won’t be an analyst on SuperSport any longer.
“Ashwin Willemse’s contract with SuperSport has expired and he will not be back on air,” SuperSport said in a statement on Thursday.
“We have not heard from the Equality Court.
“We are in communication with the SA Human Rights Commission. We referred Advocate Maleka SC’s report to the Commission, in accordance with one of his recommendations following his independent review of the matter.”
Willemse did not respond to requests for comment from IOL Sport, while his attorney Nqobizitha Mlilo is out of the country and not available.