Gareth Cliff has become subject to racist allegations after M-Net published a statement following his tweet, the High Court was told on Tuesday. By Wim Pretorius, NewsAgency
“M-Net claims the problem is the way Cliff is perceived in the public eye,” Dali Mpofu, Cliff’s advocate told the court.
“His only offence is sending the tweet that people don’t understand freedom of expression.”
He said that while M-Net says that Cliff is not a racist, they have fired him for the incorrect assumption that he is a racist.
“They say there is a perception that he is a racist, but where have they established the jurisdictional fact that the perception of the South African public is negative? Nowhere.”
He said M-Net based these perceptions on six tweets.
The court heard that Cliff was called a racist only by the EFF and Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula after M-Net fired him.
“As a result of M-Net’s statement, Cliff has become subject to these allegations.”
Mpofu argued that they weren’t saying the court should reinstate Cliff for the rest of his life, just restore him to his previous position.
“Freedom of expression is nothing but the right to offend,” he said.
He stated that public opinion does not give you the right to fire someone.
He said that the matter might as well be unopposed because M-Net had no valid arguments.
He referred to the statement made by M-Net’s lawyer, about “our history” and asked how someone who worked for Naspers could be in any position to make such a statement.
He said that Naspers was known as a company marketing the National Party during the apartheid-regime and therefore were just as guilty of playing a role in the genocide of apartheid.
“If I dare say it, Cliff was discriminated against because he is white,” Mpofu told the court. – TheJuice