While a report has found that Naas Botha and Nick Mallett's interactions with Ashwin Willemse before his infamous walk-off during the live studio broadcast of post-match commentary "does not manifest naked racism and was not motivated by racist considerations", it has revealed tensions between Willemse and Mallett. This is according to an independent report, reported Sport24.
In a three hour interview with Mallett, the report details how he and Willemse did not get along.
Mallett had reportedly written to SuperSport management asking not to be put on air with Willemse, saying, "I think he talks garbage, we irritate the hell out of each other and the working environment is just unpleasant and tense.
"I am very happy to work with Breyton [Paulse], Shimmy [Hanyani Shimange] or Bobs [Gcobani Bobo]instead as, unlike with Ashwin, I respect their hard work and rugby opinions."
Advocate Vincent Maleka SC was hired to conduct an independent review of the incident, when Willemse said he refused to be patronised by two apartheid-era players.
VIDEO: Ashwin Willemse slams Nick Mallett and Naas Botha before walking off the SuperSport set. pic.twitter.com/iYl0yRFfUu— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) May 19, 2018
But Willemse declined to participate in Maleka's investigation, so his version of events was not taken into account.
However, Maleka reportedly consulted widely, extending his interviews with anchor on the day (Motshidisi Mohono), the head of production for SuperSport, the executive producer for rugby, the production manager of the broadcast (Mandla Ntsibande) and the CEOs of MultiChoice and SuperSport.
He reportedly also conducted on-site inspections at SuperSport and consulted Wits vice-chancellor, Professor Adam Habib, an "expert on race relations".
According to the report, a probable explanation for the walk-off was a technical assumption that there was enough time for all the analysts to provide pre-match commentary of the Lions/Brumbies match. But the switch to the live broadcast happened sooner than expected and there was no time for Willemse to talk. When he was told he would open the next segment, he felt he was being patronised.
Maleka said his report was not binding and recommended that SuperSport refer the issue to the Human Rights Commission for more investigation.
I read every sentence of the #AshwinWillemse report.— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) June 19, 2018
It's amazing how 1652 Twitter ignore the FULL detail.
Adv Vincent Maleka SC is clear that his findings aren't binding AND that SuperSport should refer racism claims to the Human Rights Commission "for final resolution" 👇 pic.twitter.com/hkaf9fSrkd