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Only ‘Mandela moment’ will stop Willemse going to equality court

Only a “Mandela moment” will stop Ashwin Willemse from going to the equality court, Willemse’s lawyer told the Mail & Guardian.

Willemse’s attorney Nqobizitha Mlilo has confirmed that SuperSport “is amenable to discussion”, but Mlilo has said that should the channel revert to its previous stance following Willemse’s walk-out, the former Springbok wing will take the channel and all parties involved to the equality court.

Following the findings from SuperSport’s independent inquiry into the conduct of fellow pundits Naas Botha and Nick Mallett, SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane said he wants to open talks with Willemse.

TimesLive reported that Mlilo and Willemse are “finalising the formulation of the relief”.

In the same TimesLive article, Mlilo explained that the report by advocate Vincent Maleka — which was made public on Tuesday — was “irredeemably flawed both conceptually‚ and on application of basic principles of law”.

The report found that the conduct of Mallett and Botha “does not manifest naked racism and was not motivated by racist considerations”.

READ MORE: No racism in Willemse walk-out, says SuperSport

In May, Willemse walked off of a live SuperSport broadcast after accusing his co-hosts Mallett and Botha of patronising him. SuperSport initially denied that there was significant animosity between them, but announced that all three would be pulled off the air while an independent mediator looked into the issue.

During the review, it was remarked that Willemse had opted out of the review process, which was conducted by Maleka with the assistance of Wits University’s Professor Adam Habib.

Mlilo said the review process was a “fruitless exercise” because the decision to opt out was made on the basis that Maleka “was being used to sanitise and chlorinate failures by SuperSport to deal with a number of reported incidents of racism by the gentlemen in question.”

READ MORE: Willemse lawyer: No value in participating in SuperSport review

At Maleka’s request, SuperSport plans to refer the independent inquiry findings to the South African Human Rights Commission “for a final resolution”.

Mallett and Botha are expected to resume their duties in due course, and Willemse’s contract is still valid, SuperSport said. — with additional reporting by Luke Feltham

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