Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
30 Oct 2021
8:00 pm

‘I can be quite brash’, says Gareth Cliff over heated debate

Citizen Reporter

Gareth Cliff says he 'could have been better'.

Gareth Cliff - Picture: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath

Radio personality Gareth Cliff has spoken out publicly following backlash over his comments during a recent interview.


The matter relates to an incident where Cliff told One South Africa Movement member Mudzuli Rakhivhane that her experience of racism as “completely anecdotal and unimportant.”

The incident took place on Cliff’s show, The Burning Platform, with Rakhivhane and Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen last week Thursday.

During the debate, Rakhivhane challenged Steenhuisen over his insistence that the DA’s campaign for the upcoming local elections had focused on service delivery.

She then brought up party’s election posters in Phoenix and accused the DA of stirring racial tension.

The unsanctioned posters were put up in the KwaZulu-Natal region earlier this month, and read:  “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes”.

The posters were eventually taken down after the DA apologised.

ALSO READ: ‘Being on Gareth Cliff’s show like being in a taxi’ – Steenhuisen

Cliff then claimed as the debate continued that race was “at the bottom of the list” for many South Africans, further saying that Rakhivhane’s experience was “completely anecdotal” and “unimportant”.

His comments led to significant backlash and public outrage, with many accusing Cliff of being a racist, among other things.

This also prompted Nando’s, who sponsored Cliff’s show, to release a statement saying it would be terminating its relationship with immediate effect.

Nando’s had initially tweeted that it supported “the right to freedom of speech” shortly after the incident occurred.

‘I can be quite brash’

Speaking during latest his show on Thursday, Cliff said Nando’s did “what they had to do”.

“I’m really not in any way angry with them. I think they had to do what they had to do. They did it because corporations have to make decisions sometimes which are uncomfortable and difficult,” he said.

Cliff also acknowledged that he “lost his cool” during the interview, further admitting to “being quite brash”.

“I’ll own it, but that’s also me. I do erupt sometimes, I sound very dismissive sometimes, I can be quite brash, I totally accept it,” he said.

READ MORE: Gareth Cliff to be reported to SAHRC over ‘racist incident’

The radio personality further said that he could have treated Rakhivhane better.

“I could have been better. I could have treated her with a little more respect probably because I do treat everybody the same that comes on the show.

“I could have been slightly less abrasive and maybe that could have had a different reaction. I don’t think [Rakhivhane] has nothing to be embarrassed in terms of her contribution to the show,” Cliff added.

Meanwhile, Rakhivhane recently told News24 that she felt humiliated over the incident.

 “It is not an ideal situation to be in,” she said.