Parties agree Cliff ‘not racist’

SA Idols judge Gareth Cliff in consultation with his legal representative Dali Mpofu at the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday. PHOTO: Getrude Makhafola/ANA

It has been mutually agreed that media personality and former Idols judge Gareth Cliff is not a racist, the High Court in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday, The Citizen reports.

Cliff was axed from judging Idols SA after weighing into the Penny Sparrow racism debate earlier this month and has taken broadcaster M-Net to court for defamation of character.

EFF chairperson Advocate Dali Mpofu, for Cliff, began proceedings by making it clear that Cliff was not a racist, adding that this matter was about the enforcement of contractual rights, Constitutional right and rights to equality.

“Let me state what the matter is not about – it not about whether or not he is a racist,” said Mpofu.

Both parties agreed that he was not a racist, he added.

“The conduct of M-Net was against Constitutional values (and) the existence of a contract is the primary issue.”

He then pointed to e-mails exchanged between Cliff and M-Net regarding arrangements that had already been made for the 2016 season of Idols SA.

In December Cliff had received e-mails regarding the new season dates and that his new contract would be sent to him. In a fourth e-mail received in this regard, Cliff was informed of a 6% increase.

Mpofu said it was possible that M-Net and Cliff would have agreed upon the this.

“If the tweet wasn’t sent there would be no problem… If there was no tweet saga, we were on.”

Cliff had responded to a poll on Twitter, on whether racist social media posts be criminalised. He tweeted that: “People don’t understand free speech at all”, and then later apologised.

He is suing the broadcaster for R25 million for damages and defamation if he is not reinstated as an Idols SA judge and wants auditions to the this effect be halted in the interim.

“In a nutshell, what we have here is a situation where there is an egregious violation… there can be no other fair and just outcome, to tell the respondent that when you conclude agreements you must stick to them.

“Now the truth has come out that all they were protecting was commercial and business interest,” Mpofu said of M-Net.

But in the public announcement, however, they stated how “hurt they were”, he added.

“We want to be there on Friday,” Mpofu said of Idols first auditions which are set to take place in Durban on Saturday.

Read the original story on The Citizen.

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