The Ashwin Willemse-SuperSport conflict has now snowballed into a full-blown inquiry by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) into alleged racism and discrimination at the broadcaster.
An independent review by Advocate Vincent Maleka into the incident in May last year, where former Springbok winger Willemse stormed off during a live broadcast after alleging he was being “undermined”, had cleared the two men accused, Nick Mallett and Naas Botha, of “overt” and “subtle” racism.
However, Maleka did recommend that the allegations be referred to the SAHRC for a more comprehensive resolution.
And it seems the Commission has gathered enough evidence to broaden the scope of the inquiry further than merely the Willemse incident.
“After careful assessment of the independent report and following media reports and interviews in which SuperSport was accused of racism and victimisation, the Commission has determined that it will hold an investigative inquiry into the allegations in this matter,” the SAHRC said in a statement on Thursday.
“The Commission has deemed it appropriate and in the public interest to broaden the scope of its investigation to probe other allegations of racial discrimination at SuperSport which fall outside the scope of Maleka SC’s independent review.”
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It has encouraged all employees – past and present – to make written submissions before 31 May, after which the inquiry will get under way.