According to reports, Supersport presenters, Owen Nkumane, Xola Ntshinga, Kaunda Ntunja and Gcobani Bobo have accused Supersport of racism, victimisation, pay disparity and intimidation.
These accusations are contained in a lawyer’s letter by MVMT Attorneys, written on behalf of the four presenters.
The letter further states that the presenters believes that certain roles are reserved for non-white presenters and that white contractors are paid more than black contractors. They also suggest that these black contractor are expected to do more work.
They further stated that black presenters are subjected to victimisation, public humiliation, abusive language, intimidation and other inappropriate management.
These accusations follow the racism inquiry where Nick Mallet and Naas Botha were cleared of racism charges levelled at them by Ashwin Willemse, following his live on-air walkout.
Supersport, through leaks to its sister company, News24, had tried to create a narrative that Ashwin was unable to produce proof of racism. However, after the report was released, it became obvious that this was a false narrative.
It was revealed that Ashwin had refused to be part of the inquiry because it became clear that it was meant to clear Mallet and Botha; and cover up racism at Supersport in general.
Before the inquiry had begun, Supersport had already released a statement saying that there was no racism involved. This contradicted Ashwin’s assertion that there was in fact, racism involved.
It was also revealed that that Supersport tried to convince Ashwin on four occasions to sign a media statement confirming that the ‘walkout’ incident had nothing to do with racism. In addition, he was threatened with having his contract cancelled if he chose to pursue racism claims against Supersport.
It was also revealed that Mallet had tried to get Ashwin removed from the show, stating in an email that he did not respect Ashwin’s views and listed the names of those he respected. The list of names were those of other persons of colour, leading to online speculation that Mallet can only work with persons of colour that does not disagree with him.
These speculations are further illustrated in a highly publicised incident in 2016, where Mallet became upset after Ashwin corrected him. During the incident, Mallet had lied about predicting the outcome of a Bok game, and Ashwin had pointed out that Mallet had in fact, lied.
Ashwin will be taking the report produced by the inquiry to the Equality Court. His lawyer, Nqobizitha Mlilo, also suggested that there was a second secret report that Supersport refuses to release to the public. This second report could prove to be the smoking gun that will reveal the extent of the racism at Supersport.