PHOTO: SuperSport screengrab

JOHANNESBURG - SuperSport will be under the spotlight again when the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) holds a formal and public inquiry into allegations of racism at the broadcaster.

According to the TimesLive website, the SAHRC will investigate the circumstances that led to former Springbok and SuperSport pundit Ashwin Willemse walking off the set during a live broadcast earlier this year.

The inquiry, which will take place in February, will look at all the evidence surrounding the issue. In May, Willemse stormed off the SuperSport set following the Lions' Super Rugby win over the Brumbies at Ellis Park after an apparent disagreement with fellow panelists Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.

It remains unclear what preceded the incident, but Willemse voiced his grievances with Botha and Mallett live on air before walking off the set.

The HRC said it would examine "whether those facts demonstrate that his dignity or any other fundamental rights were infringed”.

SuperSport has already conducted an investigation into the incident in which they found no racism. That investigation was also hampered in that Willemse refused to attend the hearings, though he was requested to put his side of the story to the broadcaster.

"The commission will receive both written and oral submissions from SuperSport and other interested parties," the HRC said.

This means that the hearing may not be confined to just the evidence of Willemse, Botha and Mallett, but may include testimony from parties who believe they have an interest in the issue.

The inquiry is scheduled to begin on February 25 and come to a conclusion by the end of June.

African News Agency (ANA)