Gideon Khobane (right), CEO of SuperSport, says the dispute involving a group of black presenters has been resolved. Photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA – SuperSport and most of their black presenters and commentators have seemingly smoked the proverbial peace pipe. 

The pay television sports broadcaster found themselves entangled in a racial storm after an explosive letter from MVMT Attorneys on behalf of 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 have been handed hefty long-term contracts with guaranteed pay, while most of the black presenters and commentators are working without contracts, and some are only given one-year deals that are dependent on being paid for work done. 

SuperSport had allegedly received the letter of complaint late in May, and had been attending to the issue, which was allegedly escalated to former CEO Imtiaz Patel to help resolve.

PREVIOUSLY: Ashwin Willemse’s fellow black rugby pundits accuse SuperSport of racism

However, in late afternoon talks between chief executive officer Gideon Khobane and the disgruntled presenters and commentators at the Randburg studios on Monday, the parties seemed to have found a way to sort out the matter. 

In a statement sent out on Monday, the channel says “they have resolved all main concerns raised amicably, and all parties are committed to continuously create a harmonious working environment.”

Khobane, in the statement, also denied that racism had anything to do with the presenters and commentators’ gripes with the broadcaster, and that their issues were already under investigation by the time the letter had leaked to the media. 

“We received the attorney’s letter some time ago, but agreed with the presenters to investigate the matter and resolve the issues between ourselves,” Khobane said.

“All of the issues raised by the presenters have been resolved, and we look forward to continue to work together to create a great working environment for the SuperSport team. All of those commentators and presenters confirm that racism has not played any role in regard to the concerns raised and resolved.”

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.”

This latest scandal comes hot on the heels of the Ashwin Willemse incident, which saw the former Springbok wing walk off during a live TV broadcast. 

Willemse, who steadfastly maintains that racism played a part in the incident, did not testify in the SuperSport investigation that cleared Nick Mallett and Naas Botha of racism.

“No, we were not part of the process with the commentators and SuperSport,” said Nqobizitha Mlilo, who is Willemse’s attorney.

Mlilo confirmed that they would be proceeding with the legal application to access to information with regards to the Willemse saga.

Only after the outcome of their application will Mlilo approach the Equality Court .

“We are certainly proceeding with our application for access to the emails, and then we will head to the Equality Court with the matter,” said Mlilo.

* This story has been updated.



IOL Sport

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