- Sports Minister Thokozile Xasa says claims that black player selection based on the quota system has ruined the quality of South African sport are unfounded
- Xasa was reacting to the incident in which former Springbok Ashwin Willemse walked off set after saying he was being patronised by Nick Mallet and Naas Botha
- Willemse spoke out about being called a quota player despite his achievements in the Springbok jersey
Sports Minister Thokozile Xasa has slammed the notion that the selection of black players under the quota system has ruined the quality of South African sport.
Xasa was reacting to the incident on SuperSport on Saturday when former Springbok Ashwin Willemse walked off the set after claiming he was being patronised by Nick Mallet and Naas Botha.
Willemse spoke out about being labelled a quota player despite his achievements in the Springbok jersey.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the minister’s spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said black players had been called quota players since the system was introduced.
“It has been a problem for many black rugby players to be referred to as quota players and that has led to the deterioration of sport.”
The incident on Saturday has reignited the conversation around race in sports in South Africa.
The sports ministry has called on SuperSport to suspend Mallet and Botha following the incident. The department feels SuperSport needs to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the matter.
Mhaga said: “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.
Meanwhile, SuperSport said it would be conducting interviews with all of those involved in the incident.
SuperSport's Clinton van der Berg said: “We are interviewing various individuals as part of an investigation and SuperSport will issue a statement.”
SA Rugby said it would be unfair to deliver a snap-judgement on the incident and noted it would wait until more information was available. SA Rugby did, however, admit that the incident reflected badly on rugby in South Africa.
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