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My genuine pain must be legitimised

JOHANNESBURG – Former Springbok star and SuperSport presenter Ashwin Willemse says he’s chosen to go to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to ensure that his “genuine pain” is legitimised.

Willemse walked off set during a live broadcast in May, after accusing fellow presenters Nick Mallett and Naas Botha of patronising him.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702’s Eusebius McKaiser on Tuesday, Willemse said he had not spoken publically about the matter until then, because he understood the magnitude of what had happened.

“It’s evident on my twitter timeline … the media articles. I want to make sure that I deal with this, in the manner in which I’ve always intended to, which is appropriately.

“At the end of the day, it’s not a light matter. I see this in the teary eyes of elderly folk who meet me on the streets and they tell me ‘thanks for standing up for me’”.

READ: Willemse shines spotlight on rugby’s racist past

Willemse said he chose not to participate in an inquiry initiated by SuperSport shortly after the incident because he wasn’t comfortable with the terms of reference and didn’t believe it was the appropriate forum.

Advocate Vincent Maleka, who conducted the review, said he found no racial intent on the part of Botha and Mallett. 

SuperSport then referred the matter to the HRC.

Willemse said he would respect the HRC and its mandate and believed it would be the appropriate forum to hear his story.

“We’ll participate in that process. There I’ll be allowed to engage in the appropriate forum and hopefully restore my dignity”.

READ: SuperSport finds common ground with presenters after dispute

Willemse said he had reached out Botha and Mallett.

“I reached out based on the premise of reconciliation … and that same spirit is with which I will engage all parties involved, including the employer SuperSport”.

Watch the full interview below. 

 

 

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