Gareth Cliff’s legal team on Friday morning confirmed that M-Net had missed a deadline given to the broadcaster regarding an urgent application launched in the Johannesburg High Court.
The application was filed in court on Tuesday asking for the reinstatement of Cliff as a judge on the popular singing competition. Failing that, it requests for the show to be halted pending a R25M lawsuit against it. Idols auditions are set to begin four days after the matter is to be heard before a judge on 26 January.
M-Net had to respond by Wednesday on whether or not it would oppose this and was given a further deadline of Thursday at 16:00 to give reasons explaining its decision.
On Wednesday the broadcaster confirmed that it would be opposing the legal case. On Thursday evening M-Net’s head of publicity, Nondumiso Mabece said that “M-Net’s legal team is preparing a comprehensive response to Gareth Cliff’s urgent court application. We will file the papers in due course.”
However, Cliff’s lawyer, Erik Mabuza says these were due by 16:00 on Thursday and they have yet to receive anything. “Our hands are tied. We have been unable to prepare as they have not provided us with their case. Had we received this, we could’ve worked through the night in preparation.”
Mabuza says that a decision will be taken later on Friday on whether to complain about the delay to the judge. This means that Cliff’s legal team could ask for a postponement of the matter to be heard in court.
Cliff was fired as a judge from Idols after responding to racist tweets by estate agent, Penny Sparrow. At the time, M-Net said while it believed he was not racist, his response showed a lack of empathy.