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Parly committee weighs in on Ashwin Willemse's walkout

Committee chair Beauty Dlulane says disagreements on sports shows are inevitable but shouldn’t go beyond sports opinion.

FILE: Former Lions and Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Parliament's Sports Committee says that the on-air fall out involving Ashwin Willemse was unfortunate and has called on South Africans not to speculate until both sides of the story have been made public.

The former rugby player and analyst was unpacking a match between the Lions and the Brumbies with former Springboks, Naas Botha and Nick Mallet, at the weekend when he accused the pair of patronising him.

In a clip that’s since gone viral, Willemse says that despite his hard work and dedication to the sport, he was continuously called a quota player during his rugby days.

Committee chairperson Beauty Dlulane says disagreements on sports shows are inevitable but shouldn’t go beyond sports opinion.

Meanwhile, sports broadcaster SuperSport says that they will engage the Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa’s office over comments made regarding the incident.

In a statement, the company said that they will conduct an investigation into the matter with Botha, Mallet, Willemse, presenter Motsidisi Mohono and senior management on Monday.

On Sunday, the Sports Minister released a statement calling for the suspension of Mallet and Botha from the channel. The Sports Ministry says that SuperSport will be endorsing alleged racism if Botha and Mallett are not suspended until an investigation is completed.

On Monday, SuperSport said that they will engage Minister Xasa and that the company doesn’t tolerate any prejudice of any sort.

Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela says that they take the situation very seriously.

“SuperSport acknowledges the comments from the Ministry of Sport and Recreation and will engage with Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa’s office in this regard.”

“SuperSport has taken note of the strong public sentiment and we take this matter seriously. Whatever the findings, appropriate action will be taken to remedy the situation."

Additional reporting by Philasande Sixaba.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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