The Department of Sports and Recreation has called for the suspension of SuperSport analysts Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.
This comes after fellow analyst Ashwin Willemse walked off set, alleging unfair treatment by his colleagues.
The Sports Ministry believes Willemse’s response was based on being called a quota player by the pair and says they should be suspended until an investigation is completed by the sports broadcaster.
In a video, which has since gone viral, Willemse says he was labelled a quota player during his career and accuses Botha and Mallett of patronising him.
While cameras were rolling, the award-winning former rugby player expressed disappointment and added that he is happy that this is now unfolding in public.
The incident has sparked a mixed bag of reactions from South Africans across disciplines and sporting codes.
The Sports Ministry says SuperSport will be endorsing alleged racism if Botha and Mallett are not suspended until an investigation is completed.
Spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga says, “Obviously, we’ll call for that [suspension], up until an investigation is done by SuperSport. Failure to do that would be an endorsement, by the sports broadcaster, for an alleged act of racism against Mr Willemse.”
Mhaga adds that the department is expecting SuperSport to conduct a full investigation.
“We [Sports Ministry] expects SuperSport to do a full investigation. Every time elements of racism try to come up we must condemn and isolate it.”
‘WILLEMSE REMAINED STRONG AGAINST ALL ODDS’
The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape says they are disturbed by Saturday’s incident at the SuperSport studios.
The provincial party say Western Cape-born Willemse is involved in various social projects in the region and is known to have remained strong against all odds to pull himself out of poverty.
In a statement, the party adds that Willemse’s public walkout brings to the surface the hurt and humiliation suffered by the black rugby community.
Spokesperson Yonela Diko says, “As the ANC we believe that Willemse’s public walkout is a result of what may black people experience in offices and boardrooms across the country, where being black is a constant source of being undermined, doubted, spoken down upon and largely made to feel like an outsider by their social clicks within the same working space.”