The news that advocate Dali Mpofu will represent television personality Gareth Cliff as he sues M-Net for millions of rands was met with outrage by many, bemusement by some and a wry smile by others.
The fact that Mpofu is a big personality in the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has upped the political ante.
The EFF was quick to release a statement yesterday saying it “does not support racism”.
It is impossible to know how the court case will pan out, but it would be wise to remember that Mpofu walked away with millions of rands after his fallout with the SABC.
So perhaps the move to invoke the services of a man who fought a broadcaster and won will turn out to be inspired. Mpofu will do his best to win Cliff’s case, irrespective of what his views on the matter may be.
But the EFF is in damage control mode, making it clear to followers that professional obligation does not mean Mpofu endorses what Cliff has done.
What Cliff wrote was insensitive, and in the context of the Penny Sparrow storm, notwithstanding his public profile, the tweet was always going to cause a tsunami of anger.
He later apologised, but saying sorry for causing outrage on Twitter is not uncommon. Cliff’s fellow host, Somizi Mhlongo, apologised for tweets about racist white South Africans who want Jacob Zuma to fall.
Previously, Unathi Msengana was suspended from Metro FM for a Twitter fallout after a show about the language policy at Stellenbosch.
Somizi and Unathi survived the M-Net axe and so Cliff, with the help of Mpofu, will no doubt raise the ire of M-Net, which has had to deal with its share of social media uproar.
Cliff, despite angering many with his insensitivity, has enlisted one of the best men for the job.
South Africa is not a simple country and the fact the chairman of the EFF will spearhead his fight to try repair his reputation after allegations of racism won’t go unnoticed.