Controversial radio personality Gareth Cliff has irked many South Africans with his message to President Cyril Ramaphosa about the coronavirus lockdown in South Africa.
In an audio clip posted on Twitter, the former "Idols SA" judge told the president how South Africans were concerned with the havoc the lockdown was causing on the economy and how "many of us aren’t afraid of the virus anymore".
Gareth says: "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.
"I’m not a smoker – I don’t like cigarettes at all – but when Minister Dlamini-Zuma announced that she was (after a consultation none of us believe happened) going to keep the ban on tobacco products in place, many of us (even the non-smokers) were ready to give her the middle finger – and start risking breaking the rules."
Listen to the full audio:
His comments sparked an outcry on social media with many calling him out for speaking on behalf of "us".
Gareth Cliff speaks from bosom of white privilege. He knows there is no SAPS or SANDF that could ever conceive of unleashed violence on white bodies. No one fears white bodies like SA repressive apparatuses. They are designed to protect white bodies from the rest of us.— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) May 2, 2020
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/GarethCliff?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GarethCliff, 2 corrections here quickly. 1.) it’s not just about your own health, it’s about everyone else’s as well. 2.) It’s not “us against the government”, it’s you against the government & if I feel like you’re a hazard to those I love, then it’s you against me. https://t.co/8xC0J1p3HB
— Sizwe Dhlomo (@SizweDhlomo)
I find it rather funny that whites use the black experience as a talking point when they voice their grievances to government. Job insecurity, living in informal settlement, poverty. None of these things they experience. They must speak from their own social standing. Not ours.— BDP (@01Ne010) May 2, 2020
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/ZumaMustFall?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ZumaMustFallprotest...? 😂😂😂😂
— Madikizela (@ShreksBeloved)
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/GarethCliff?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GarethCliff, you're the big man now huh? Not afraid of the desease? Do you have any idea what havoc it'll wreck on our atrocious health system? Many of our people have comorbid conditions and takes their chances at the risk of death.
You're being stupid and irresponsible.
— Big Mo (@MogomotsiLebot2)
So, who is this WE he speaks of? You break the rules, you are put in jail. Simple. pic.twitter.com/vdcEUZjQzW— Mkhonto weSizwe - uMnumzane oThize (@cityzenStorch) May 2, 2020
Who paid him to say this? Imagine all this for cigarettes. Even alcohol nje!— Thick Mamie 👸🏽 (@Filwe_Flow) May 2, 2020
I am craving alcohol like crazy, buy this is unnecessary. Like a child who’s toys were taken away.
In a message of his own, ANC MP Faiez Jacobs called Cliff selfish and reckless.