Johannesburg: The spokesman for South Africa’s elite police unit has been suspended, officials said on Thursday, three weeks after he posted comments on Twitter making fun of rape in prisons.
McIntosh Polela, the public face of the Hawks unit, used his popular account on the social networking site to mock Jub Jub, a local rapper who faces jail time for killing school children while drag racing.
“I trust that JubJub’s supporters gave him a jar of Vaseline to take to prison,” Polela posted shortly after the musician was convicted in October. Sentencing is due later this month. The police official has some 13,700 followers.
Polela kept the post online for several days, despite a backlash from many South African Twitter users who complained about the comment.
“He has been suspended. We won’t discuss details. It is a purely internal matter,” Brigadier Phuti Setati, a police spokesman, was quoted by the SAPA news agency as saying. Setati would not confirm the exact reason for the suspension.
A former television journalist, Polela recently published his well-received memoir, My Father My Monster, about his troubled childhood.
The book, which takes place against the backdrop of the collapse of Apartheid, focuses on the murder of his mother by his father and Polela’s subsequent efforts to raise enough money to put himself through school.