Gareth Cliff has won his court case against M-Net, following his dismissal from reality show Idols.
Cliff’s removal from the show followed a backlash on Twitter after he commented on a Facebook post by KwaZulu-Natal realtor Penny Sparrow.
Sparrow had called black beachgoers monkeys. Cliff then tweeted: “People really don’t understand free speech at all.”
The High Court in Johannesburg decided on 29 January that Cliff must be reinstated as a judge on Idols with immediate effect.
“This is a contractual dispute. The contractual relationship has to be reinstated to what it was. M-Net will pay costs to Gareth Cliff,” said Judge Caroline Nicholls, as reported by Channel24.
Cliff’s lawyer Dali Mpofu and M-Net’s legal representative Wim Trengove originally presented their arguments in the high court on 26 January.
Cliff wanted his job back, and in a related legal case is asking for R25 million for defamation and breach of contract.
Auditions for Idols 2016 will begin at The Playhouse in Durban on 30 January.
Cliff thrilled with ruling
Cliff said he was thrilled with the court ruling in his favour that also ordered M-Net to pay all his legal costs, reported News24.
“We’re very pleased about this,” he said.
Cliff’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, said he always believed a judgment in Cliff’s favour would be delivered.
“We’ve always been confident about the case… this case indicates that everyone is equal before the law,” said Mabuza.
“It also indicates that human rights are human rights. You do not have black human rights, or white human rights.”