‘Everyone is equal before the law’

Gareth Cliff, who isn’t sharing much about the judgment yet, says he will study the ruling closely.

Gareth Cliff. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gareth Cliff's lawyer, Eric Mabuza, says the outcome of today's court judgement, in favour of his reinstatement as an Idols judge, is a reminder that human rights should be upheld regardless of race.

The High Court in Johannesburg has ruled that Cliff be temporarily reinstated.

He was fired by M-Net earlier this month after he weighed in on a racist Facebook post by Penny Sparrow.

WATCH: 'Emails between Gareth Cliff and M-Net are binding'

Mabuza says he and his team have always been confident that the court would rule in Cliff's favour.

"We saw that this was a travesty of justice. This case indicates that everyone is equal before the law."

Cliff, who isn't sharing much about the judgment yet, says he will study the ruling closely.

"We are thrilled. From here, I think we going to have to read through it properly and we will have a press conference tomorrow."

The court ruled that Cliff sufficiently proved he had a contract with M-Net and should therefore resume his duties as planned.

Handing down her judgment today, Judge Carolyn Nicholls said the only reasonable solution was to reinstate Cliff.

"Pending the finalisation of part B of the notice of motion, the contractual agreement between the parties is reinstated to what it was."

LISTEN: Cliff wins his case against M-Net.

She has also refuted M-Net's claim that granting the radio personality temporary reinstatement compelled the broadcaster to keep him for the full duration of the Idols season.

M-Net is now at liberty to cancel Cliff's employment at any time during the show, but will have to pay him for the full season.


The High Court in Johannesburg says M-Net has always been aware of Cliff's controversial personality and seems to have supported it until now.

Judge Nicholls says there is no merit to M-Nets claims that Cliff's temporary reinstatement will damage its brand as it's survived many other controversies surrounding him.

There was public outrage when the _Idols _judge tweeted that people don't understand free speech in response to Sparrow's Facebook post.

M-Net claims the tweet created an image of Cliff as a poster boy for racism

The broadcaster's lawyer, Wim Trengove, told the court on Tuesday that Idols judges are meant to entertain viewers not shock and offend them.

However, Advocate Dali Mpofu for Cliff, argued that it's precisely because of Cliff's sometimes shocking character that M-Net hired him.

He told the court that M-Net and Idols producers have on multiple occasions chosen to ride the wave of the controversy and shouldn't.

At the same time, questions have been raised about what impact, if any, does Cliff's racial law suit will have on Idols.

The Media Shop's Chris Botha predicts that more people will now watch the show.

"The most likely thing that will happen with the programme is the old 'no publicity is bad publicity', where there is now a lot of hype and a whole lot of noise being made about the programme. So those people who didn't know about Idols… now they do, and are quite likely to watch it. I think the audience for Idols will increase because of the noise."