‘I was speaking for myself.’
Controversial radio personality Gareth Cliff has responded to the backlash he received over his open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Gareth claims that those who thought he was speaking for white people are making it all about him and not the issues he raised.
In his letter, Gareth said South Africans’ “patience and emotional state of affairs are on a knife-edge” during the nationwide lockdown and many were “losing hope”.
“Many of us aren’t afraid of the virus any more. 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,” he said, warning that not getting the confidence of the people could end in disaster for the government.
While many were irked and voiced their outrage at Gareth’s open letter, the star told listeners of his CliffCentral show this week that he was not speaking for anyone but himself.
“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. I find this whole thing bizarre.”
He went on to say that he just said what he thinks a lot of people are feeling.
He also denounced claims that he was being disrespectful to the president or the cabinet ministers making decisions and said he had nothing personal to gain from his open letter.
Gareth added that some columnists had shared his sentiments but did not get the same amount of backlash, claiming that it may have been because they are not white.
“I read Barney Mthombothi’s column in the Sunday Times yesterday, a man I respect enormously. 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.”
Listen to Gareth address the backlash below: