Ashwin Willemse taking case to Human Rights Commission

Ashwin Willemse played 19 Tests for the Springboks on the wing, and was the SA Rugby player of the year in 2003. David Rogers/Getty Images

While Ashwin Willemse has reached out to fellow SuperSport presenters Nick Mallett and Naas Botha, the former Springbok wing says he wants to "restore his dignity" by agreeing to hand the matter over to the SA Human Rights Commission.

In May, Willemse stormed off a live broadcast after accusing Botha and Mallett of "patronising" him. Willemse seemingly felt that he was racially discriminated against, referencing being called a "quota player," before walking off set.

An independent inquiry conducted by advocate Vincent Maleka said it could find no evidence of racism by Botha and Mallett, but also advised that SuperSport and Willemse continue to discuss the matter to reach a concrete resolution.

Willemse opted not to participate in the original investigation, which his lawyer, Nqobizitha Mlilo, said was his right. The former South African Rugby Player of the Year also decided not to comment on the matter in public.

However, Willemse broke his silence on Tuesday during an interview with Eusebius McKaiser on Radio 702. He contradicted Maleka's findings following the investigation by saying the incident was "rooted in racism".

"I was advised that we should go to the Equality Court‚ but upon reflection, I have indicated to my legal team that the Human Rights Commission is there to respect the Constitution‚ and the Constitution ensures that our human rights are protected," Willemse said.

"Out of respect for that‚ I informed [my legal team] that I feel we should honour the submission which SuperSport has indicated it will now send to the Human Rights Commission, based on the report of Advocate Maleka.

"We will participate in that process. I will be allowed to go there and engage in that appropriate forum‚ and in that process hopefully restore my dignity."

Willemse said they were not comfortable with the terms of reference of Maleka's investigation. And, after initially taking part and contributing to the investigation, decided to not take any further part in the proceedings.

"We felt that it did not allow us to deal with everything we'd like them to deal with. It was voluntary, so we decided not to participate, we did indicate to him that this is not the appropriate forum," he said.

He felt that the public response to his story showed him that the issue was worth addressing further: "And in terms of the silence, I had nothing to say at that stage because I understand the magnitude of what has transpired and what it has started.

"It's evident on my Twitter timeline, on my Facebook inbox... the messages, the media articles, the commentary... so I understand this moment and what it has started.

"At the end of the day‚ it's not a light matter. I see this in the teary eyes of elderly folk who meet me on the streets and say 'Thank you for standing up for me'.

"It's legitimate pain‚ and so my silence was a case of me allowing the process to unfold up until a point where we can deal with this matter in the appropriate manner -- which I indicated right from the onset to SuperSport -- and we've not been granted that opportunity as of yet."