SuperSport releases the report of theIndependent Review by Advocate Maleka SC into the altercation betweenSuperSport presenters
SuperSport on Tuesday published the outcome of the independentreview into the 19 May on- air incident involving Ashwin Willemse, NickMallett and Naas Botha.SuperSport appointed Advocate Vincent Maleka SC, a respected,independent professional, to review the allegations fully andobjectively, after initial attempts to resolve the issue amicably andexpeditiously by way of discussions with the presenters involved, didnot resolve the issue.Advocate Maleka SC conducted an extensive process and produceda comprehensive 50-page report, which will be made available in itsentirety today (link at the base of this article).Advocate Maleka SC attended to the following incompiling his report:Reviewing the audio-visuals of the live studio broadcastincluding footage which was not broadcast on the day and of priorbroadcasts involving the three presentersConducting separate interviews with role players includingNaas Botha, Nick Mallett, the anchor on the day (Motshidisi Mohono),the Head of Production for SuperSport, the Executive Producer forrugby, the production manager of the broadcast (Mandla Ntsibande) andthe CEOs of MultiChoice and SuperSport.Conducting on-site inspections which included visiting thestudio and viewing a live broadcast in an Outside Broadcast vanHe also interviewed and consulted with Professor AdamHabib, an expert with extensive experience in race relations andconsidered literature on subtleties of racist conduct. Ashwinregrettably decided not to participate in the review, despite the factthat all parties involved were advised of this process before itstarted and raised no objections at that time.
Advocate Maleka SC found the following:That the conduct of Naas and Nick during the off-airconversation with Ashwin and during the live studio broadcast of thepost-match commentary of the match “does not manifest naked racism andwas not motivated by racist considerations”.Assisted by Prof Habib, Advocate Maleka SC also found thatthere was also no evidence of Naas or Nick exhibiting either intendedor unintended subtle racism.The incident cannot be explained on the basis of thesuggestion or suspicion that Ashwin was, for the most part, not presentin the studio when the second half of the rugby match was televised.There are two factors which provide a reasonableexplanation for the incident:The first is the (mistaken) technical assumption thatthere was enough time for all the analyst to express their pre-matchanalysis or commentary of the Lions/Brumbies rugby match. However, theswitch to the live broadcast happened sooner than anticipated.Consequently, there was no time for Ashwin to express his views. Thepanel then agreed, off-air, that Ashwin would be given the firstopportunity to speak after the game.The second is that it is reasonable to assume that Ashwinmay have regarded the common stance adopted by Nick and Naas aspatronising when they insisted that he should thereafter speak first.
Advocate Maleka SC made a number ofrecommendations, all of which will be implemented by SuperSport:A forum will be established for the team of analysts toprovide their views on the performance of the analysts (and possibleroom for improvement) during that specific broadcast, after each studiobroadcast.A code of conduct will be formulated for analysts includinggrievance procedures and credible mechanisms to resolve any grievancesthey may have.Analysts will be required to operate the touch screen inthe studio “across the colour-line”, even though the touch screen isthe more complex of the functions on set.Counselling will be offered to Motshidisi, Naas, Nick andAshwin due to the emotional suffering all have endured from and sincethe incident.SuperSport will take the additional step to refer thereport to the SA Human Rights Commission.Given the content of the report, it is expected that Naas and Nick willresume studio duties in the future, at a time to be determined bySuperSport.
While SuperSport is disappointed that Ashwin did notparticipate in Advocate Maleka’s review, it respects his right not todo so.“In the spirit of reconciliation, I will make another attemptto reach out to Ashwin for us to find a mutually-acceptable way forwardso that he knows that this issue has been fairly investigated.Notwithstanding what has happened, one cannot forget thatAshwin reached the peak of international sport while facing verydifficult circumstances and he continues to inspire many young peoplein our country. He represents the aspirations of many and I sincerelyhope that Ashwin will respond positively” concluded Gideon Khobane, CEOof SuperSport.