- Nando's is terminating its sponsorship of a Gareth Cliff show with immediate effect.
- On his The Burning Platform show, Cliff described One South Africa Movement member Mudzuli Rakhivhane's experiences of racism as "anecdotal" and "unimportant".
- Nando's said Cliff failed to create an environment where free speech was possible by talking over Rakhivhane and dismissing her view while not allowing her to adequately express it.
Nando's will be terminating its sponsorship of The Burning Platform, following public outrage over comments made by host Garth Cliff.
The show is broadcast on Cliff Central and was sponsored by Nando's for five years.
During an interview with DA leader John Steenhuisen and One South Africa Movement member Mudzuli Rakhivhane, Cliff discussed the furore over DA posters in Phoenix, Durban, which were removed following an outcry.
The posters claimed the ruling party branded the historically Indian community racist, while the DA celebrated them as heroes during the July unrest. The posters, placed on top of each other, read: "The ANC called you racists" and "The DA calls you heroes."
During the interview, Cliff claimed race was "at the bottom of the list" for many South Africans.
Rakhivhane replied: "They obviously don't experience the type of racism I experience on a daily basis."
This was followed by a response from Cliff, saying her experience was "completely anecdotal" and "unimportant".
Rakhivhane shared a clip of the interview on Twitter.
When they try to talk over you and tell you that your experiences as a black woman in South Africa do not matter??????. Racism is structural and even operates at a municipal level. The literal definition of black lives don’t matter. ?? pic.twitter.com/i2KcVzjcCd— Mudzuli Rakhivhane (@mudzy_r) October 22, 2021
Cliff's comments triggered outrage, and criticism against the Nando's sponsorship of his show.
We know that you know what happened in the exchange between the panelists on The Burning Platform on 21st October 2021. We are a proudly South African brand that takes the right to freedom of speech very seriously. [1/2]— NandosSA (@NandosSA) October 22, 2021
"We do not, and will never, invalidate anyone's experiences or condone racism in any form. We are taking this serious matter under review," the company said.
In a statement released on Saturday, Nando's announced it would be pulling the sponsorship with immediate effect.
It said it supported healthy debate and the right to freedom of speech.
"There are many instances in which Nando's has not agreed with the opinions of both guests and presenters on Cliff Central, but we have upheld their right to express those views as a core component of a healthy constitutional democracy.
"In the case of The Burning Platform episode aired on [Thursday], Nando's is of the view that Gareth Cliff failed to create an environment where free speech was possible by talking over Mudzuli Rakhivhane and dismissing her view whilst not allowing her to adequately express it."
The company called the incident "highly disappointing" and "at odds with the reasons that we originally entered into our sponsorship of The Burning Platform".