Saturday, May 26, 2018

SuperSport pulls Ashwin Willemse, Nick Mallett and Naas Botha off the air in ongoing controversy, but says they're not suspended as SuperSport fails to make sufficient headway in its internal investigation.

In the ongoing controversy SuperSport has pulled commentators Ashwin Willemse, Naas Botha and Nick Mallett off air although saying none of them have been fired, with the pay-sportscaster saying its investigation started off good but failed to make sufficient headway.

In a shocking live on-air incident this past Saturday Saturday Ashwin Willemse walked off set in SuperSport's Randburg studios after a verbal altercation with Nick Mallett and Naas Botha that he said on-air he is glad the public get to see, and saying he won't be patronised anymore and won't "work with people that undermine other people".

On Monday Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO, still promised that Ashwin Willemse, Naas Botha and Nick Mallett will all appear, and together this Saturday on SuperSport as rugby analysts.

All three have now been dumped from television, although not suspended, and replaced by Victor Matfield, Breyton Paulse and Xola Ntshinga for Saturday.

With a massive and polarising response from South Africans over the incident, SuperSport and MultiChoice have continued to managed the fallout very badly, especially in terms of public relations and the press and damaging the SuperSport brand.

Politicians called for a boycott of DStv and SuperSport and even the minister of sports Tokozile Xasa swiftly calling for the suspension of Naas Botha and Nick Mallett over alleged racism.

After initially saying Ashwin Willemse, Naas Botha and Nick Mallett will all remain on-air, SuperSport is now saying they won't be, but also that they're not suspended.

They are just removed but will continue to be paid according to SuperSport, although presenters are usually only paid if they actually do work which is to appear on television.

"We have had discussions this week with all parties in an effort to resolve this matter amicably and expeditiously," says SuperSport in a statement, with the incident that will now be reviewed by an advocate.

"Despite good progress initially, the matter has unfortunately not been resolved. We have therefore decided to instruct an independent senior counsel, advocate Vincent Maleka, to chair a review of the incident which occurred and to make recommendations to our management."

SuperSport says that "pending the outcome of the review, the three presenters involved will not appear on-air. None of the presenters have been suspended and they will continue to be remunerated in terms of their contracts."

"We are committed to getting to the bottom of this serious issue," says SuperSport.

"Advocate Vincent Maleka has been asked to make findings and recommendations by Monday 11 June 2018."