Last updated on Jan 27th, 2021 at 05:29 pm
Radio personality Gareth Cliff is unfazed by the backlash he received for voicing his controversial opinion about the coronavirus lockdown
The CliffCentral host wrote a scathing letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa slamming the way officials were handling the lockdown – including Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s U-turn on the cigarette ban.
“Many of us aren’t afraid of the virus anymore. It’s our health and we’ll take our chances, thank you. We ARE afraid of the havoc your lockdown is wreaking on the economy, on people’s lives and livelihoods. I see fewer and fewer explanations from ministers and more and more capricious, some would say spiteful, regulation,” he wrote.
Many, including stars such as Hulisani Ravele, slammed the letter, saying it smelled a lot like privilege
Some accused Gareth of “inciting violence” with his remarks about South Africans potentially rebelling against government and breaking the rules.
“There are more of us than there are police officers and soldiers, so if you piss enough people off, things get very hairy. I’m sure those advisers in the security cluster have mentioned that they can’t shoot us all or put us all in jail,” Gareth wrote in the letter.
But not everyone disagreed with the radio presenter, some supported his comments.
“Ntsiki Mazwai wrote an open scathing letter the president. No uproar Gareth Cliff wrote an open scathing letter to the same president, Cyril Ramaphosa. The self appointed lynch mob and vigilante are already baying for his blood. Why? Answer’s very simple Gareth is a white male,” one Twitter user wrote.
Despite his letter receiving mixed reviews, Gareth is standing by his words
He denied claims that he wrote the letter on behalf of all white South Africans.
“People who say, ‘Oh, you’re speaking on behalf of white people or people with money’, I’m like no, you’re projecting me into this story, it’s not about me,” he said during one of his recent shows.
The former Idols SA judge added that the aim of his letter was to let the president know that the lockdown is “dangerous, damaging and it’s putting people in a worse position” – sentiments shared by many others.
“I read Barney Mthombothi’s column in the Sunday Times yesterday… He was pretty much echoing precisely the sentiments that I have… I don’t know if he got this hatred, maybe it was because he is not white.”