Ashwin Willemse says his dignity was infringed upon by Nick Mallett and Naas Botha while working at SuperSport.
The SA Human Rights Commission recently announced that would investigate the circumstances that led to Willemse walking off a set during a live SuperSport broadcast.
The incident, involving fellow rugby analysts Mallett and Botha, took place on 19 May after a Super Rugby match between the Lions and Brumbies. Willemse accused the duo of undermining him.
During an interview with TimesLive, Willemse said he was shocked to learn of an email sent by Nick Mallett to SuperSport’s executive producer Scott Seward in October 2016. The email emerged during an independent investigation that cleared Mallett and Botha of racism.
Mallett’s email read: ‘I really enjoy working with Bobs [Gcobani Bobo] and Xola [Ntshinga], Scott. They are a real pleasure … Xola asks very good questions and Bobs knows enough about rugby to produce interesting clips for discussion.
‘Unlike with the complex Ashwin, there are no agendas. It would be great if Ashwin could be moved … where we don’t have to work together. I think he talks garbage, we irritate the hell out of each other and the working environment is just unpleasant and tense.’
In response, Willemse said: ‘If you’re going to feel that way about a person, have the backbone to say it. Having a backbone would mean I could come to you and say: “Ashwin, I no longer want to work with you”. It was just confirming what I always thought to be the case, but never had evidence to prove.’