The SA Human Rights Commission will investigate the circumstances that led to Ashwin Willemse walking off a set during a live SuperSport broadcast.
The incident, involving fellow rugby analysts Nick Mallett and Naas Botha, took place on 19 May after a Super Rugby match between the Lions and Brumbies. Willemse accused the duo of undermining him.
On 19 June, SuperSport announced that Mallett and Botha would resume their studio duties after an independent investigation found that there was no underlying racism that led to the incident. Willemse decided not to give testimony throughout the probe because he believed it was ‘not the forum to voice his concerns’.
On 6 September, SuperSport confirmed that Willemse would not return to his post as a rugby analyst as his contract had expired.
According to TimesLive, the Human Rights Commission’s formal and public inquiry will now examine whether Willemse’s dignity or any other fundamental rights were infringed.
The inquiry will also seek to establish:
- Whether, and to what extent, Willemse was exposed or subjected to unfair racial discrimination or harassment on or before 19 May 2018 and thereafter during the performance of his duties as an analyst at SuperSport;
- Whether SuperSport has appropriately dealt with the allegations of unfair racial discrimination made by Willemse;
- Whether SuperSport, by act or omission, enabled an environment which was conducive to the creation of tension, disunity and unfair racial discrimination among employees and/or independent contractors on one hand and between employees and/or independent contractors and SuperSport on the other hand;
- Whether SuperSport employed sufficient safeguards and measures to prevent the occurrence of race-based unfair discrimination and to promote equality in its workplace; and
- Whether SuperSport has received complaints relating to unfair discrimination on the basis of race in its workplace. If so, whether SuperSport responded appropriately to address such allegations and what were the outcomes in respect of each complaint, if any.
The inquiry is expected to start on 25 February and be completed by the end of June.