South Africa 21.5.2018 07:58 pm

‘No conclusion, but no racism’ in Willemse, Botha and Mallett talks

Ashwin Willemse during his on-air walkout.

Ashwin Willemse during his on-air walkout.

Multichoice CEO Calvo Mwela says there doesn’t seem to be any racist behaviour involved, from what had been said in discussions so far.

Ashwin Willemse, Nick Mallett and Naas Botha had talks at SuperSport today, but no finality could be reached on what sparked the drama in the studio on Saturday.

This follows Willemse leaving the live SuperSport set on Saturday after the Lions’ win over the Brumbies, accusing Mallett and Botha of patronising him and saying that he couldn’t work with them any longer.

The incident has lit up social media, while SuperSport have launched a full investigation into the matter.

SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane briefed media after the meeting and confirmed that while the talks were encouraging, they did not get to the bottom of the issue.

“We need more engagement. We are going deeper into people’s feelings about if there is something else that prompted this thing that we are unaware of,” he said.

Mawela added that the three men would have to get back into a room as soon as possible.

“We gathered as much information as we could today, but we could not come to any conclusions,” he said. “We all agree that we will continue the engagements going forward, but we cannot confirm when.

“As far as we can see it is people who were having a discussion, but we need to dig deeper to see what the underlying reasons were.”

Many questions, most notably why Ashwin Willemse stormed off set, remained unanswered by the time SuperSport released a statement this evening.

The statement reads:

‘Following the on-air incident on Saturday, senior management and staff of MultiChoice and SuperSport met with the four presenters, namely Ashwin Willemse, Nick Mallett, Naas Botha and Motshidisi Mohono, at SuperSport today.

‘Meetings were also conducted with Anthony Banks, the director, and Mandla Ntsibande, the producer, who worked on the night.

‘The meetings were positive and cordial with the presenters engaging directly with one another. There was a significant move in the parties finding common ground.

‘SuperSport and MultiChoice have, however, requested all parties that we continue with a deeper engagement process to confront the complex issues which our past has thrust upon the workplace.

‘This is merely the first stage of the process to address the issues raised by the weekend’s events.

‘All the parties have agreed to continue participating in this process.

‘Said Ashwin Willemse: “We had robust discussions in which I aired my views. I’m very appreciative of the process undertaken by SuperSport. The complexity of the issues are very profound.”

‘Said Nick Mallett: “I appreciated the opportunity to air my views. Clearly, there are issues that must be grappled with. I am more than happy to collaborate and contribute to resolving this matter.”

‘Said Naas Botha: “This was a first meeting and we all had our say, which was helpful. We’ve invested in a process to resolve matters and I’m confident that we will get a satisfactory resolution.”’

Citizen reporter and African News Agency (ANA)

ALSO READ: Minister of Sports weighs in on Ashwin Willemse walk off

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