Ashwin Willemse, Nick Mallett and Naas Botha spent Monday locked in discussions, searching for a resolution to the issues behind their on-air argument. Now, Sport24 have reported their first comments since the televised drama.
The trio have been the centre of widespread public attention, as Willemse walked off Saturday’s post-match analysis show whilst live on SuperSport, following the Lions vs Brumbies game.
He indicated that he felt “patronised” during his time on the programme, citing that he’s had to deal with being called “a quota player” all of his life as he’s battled to earn respect.
Willemse then took a swipe at Mallett and Botha for representing South Africa during the apartheid years.
With the subject of race being a strong undercurrent in the fallout, SuperSport have moved to get all three of the presenters to work constructively together in a bid to find a solution going forward.
Willemse, Mallett and Botha all issued single-comment statements as Monday’s meeting concluded. All seemed relatively pleased they had the chance to air their views so promptly; something that Ashwin Willemse praised:
“We had robust discussions in which I aired my views. I’m very appreciative of the process undertaken by SuperSport. The complexity of the issues is very profound.”
Mallett accepted that there is a challenge that needs to be faced:
“I appreciated the opportunity to air my views. Clearly, there are issues that must be grappled with. I am more than happy to collaborate and contribute to resolving this matter.”
Meanwhile, Botha’s statement echoed both of the previous sentiments:
“This was the first meeting and we all had our say, which was helpful. We’ve invested in a process to resolve matters and I’m confident that we will get a satisfactory resolution.”
Nothing has been concluded as of yet, and tripartite discussions will be put on hold for the time being as Mallett has returned to Cape Town – reportedly for a doctor’s appointment.
Both SuperSport and Multichoice have claimed the discussions were progressive. No time and date has been given for a follow-up meeting, but it would seem the warring factions at least have a foundation to build on.