SuperSport released the report of an Independent Review by Advocate Maleka which found nothing wrong with the conduct of Naas Botha nor Nick Mallett.
Everyone involved was interviewed except the person that walked off air and accused Mallett and Botha of being racist.
Willemse’s action sparked a massive war of words over social media which divided people across racial lines yet again.
Advocate Maleka SC found that the conduct of Naas and Nick during the off-air conversation with Ashwin and during the live studio broadcast of the post-match commentary of the match “does not manifest naked racism and was not motivated by racist considerations”.
There are two factors which provide a reasonable explanation for the incident.
The first is the (mistaken) technical assumption that there was enough time for all the analyst to express their pre-match analysis or commentary of the Lions/Brumbies rugby match.
However, the switch to the live broadcast happened sooner than anticipated.Consequently, there was no time for Ashwin to express his views.
The panel then agreed, off-air, that Ashwin would be given the first opportunity to speak after the game.
The second is that it is reasonable to assume that Ashwin may have regarded the common stance adopted by Nick and Naas as patronising when they insisted that he should thereafter speak first.
Willemse in my eyes acted unprofessionally and used the race card which was damaging to all concerned.
People were pre-judged by media, people and even ministers due to Willemse’s actions.
The fact that he refused to come forward and form part of the review shows that he knows that he overreacted and chose to hide away rather than accept his conduct was unfair and unprofessional.
He knew he would cause maximum damage to both Botha and Mallett’s image by doing this on air and did himself no favours to not take part in the review.
Willemse owes the people an apology for his actions if he is not man enough to speak up.
The full report is available here: REPORT