Sports minister slams 'white entitlement' after Ashwin Willemse walkout


Italy's coach Nick Mallet (C) gestures during Rugby Union test match between Italy and Japan at Cesena's stadium on August 13, 2011.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Sports and Recreation Toko Xasa has condemned what she describes as the continued behaviour of white entitlement in rugby.

She made the statement after former Springbok player and current SuperSport rugby analyst Ashwin Willemse walked off the set during a live show on Saturday evening.

Willemse accused his colleagues Nick Mallett and Naas Botha on air of undermining him.

He told them he would not be patronised by two individuals who played in the apartheid era.

Willemse expressed disappointment at how throughout his coaching career he had been labelled a quota player.

In the video clip, Willemse is heard saying he is glad that the matter is now in the public domain.

The sports minister, who has branded Mallet and Botha’s behaviour as racist, has expressed shock at the incident.

“This behaviour of entitlement by some white South Africans who continue to think that their whiteness represents better must come to an end. If it was not for a barbaric nonsensical apartheid system that privileged them we would not have implemented quota systems to normalise an otherwise abnormal system,” she said.

“Willemse is not just a former Springbok player but in 2003 he was named SA Rugby Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and the Player’s Player of the Year.

"Players like Willemse, [Bryan] Habana [and Siya] Kolisi continue to make us proud as a nation and affirm that they are not token players or quota players.”

Xasa has called on SuperSport to pull Botha and Mallet off air while a full investigation is conducted.

“It is clear that Ashwin Willemse was referred as a quota player by his fellow panellist despite his many successes in the field of play ... 

“The continued appearance of Mallet and Botha will be seen as an endorsement of their alleged racist behaviour,” she said.