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Controversial SA tweets of 2012

Rhodé Marshall

We round up the cringe-worthy, jaw-dropping South African Twitter blunders of 2012.

Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane arranged a meeting with Jessica Leandra and Tshidi Thamana after their Twitter spat. (Gallo)

We start the year with New Year’s resolutions and hopes. Somewhere in there we put in prayers and pleads for deliverance from the crazy tweets of the famous and not-so-famous.

Nonetheless, 2012 was filled with jaw-dropping, cringe-worthy Twitter blunders.

Here's a round up of the ones you may have forgotten.

@JessicaLeandra

South Africans were incensed following a racist tweet by model Jessica Leandra.

Leandra tweeted: "Just, well took on an arrogant and disrespectful k***** inside Spar. Should have punched him, should have [sic]."

Leandra, an FHM 2011 model of the year, deleted the controversial tweet and posted an apology on her blog.

"I tweeted rather irresponsibly about an incident I encountered last night, using a harsh and unkind word about the gentleman who had confronted me with sexual remarks and sounds," she wrote in her apology.

"While most of you would enjoy the opportunity to throw a few vicious words at me, please do understand that I was acting in pure anger and frustration at the time and although we know this is no excuse, it is a lesson learnt and again, I am sincerely apologetic."

FHM South Africa took to Twitter to voice its distaste at Leandra’s comment. "We’re horrified anyone would say such things! Those attitudes have no place in society or FHM! [sic]."

QuickTrim South Africa, one of her sponsors, tweeted: “Due to the severity of the remarks by #JessicaLeandra #QuickTrimSA herewith ends our sponsorship to her with immediate effect!"

Despite Leandra’s apology, South Africa’s Twitter community was still not happy.

"Dear Jessica, when your apology has excuses, it’s no longer an apology," a tweet read.

Her twitter account has since been made private.

@Tshidi_Thamana

It didn’t end there. Soon after this incident, another model Tshidi Thamana had to apologise after she tweeted that she wished all white people were dead, in response to Leandra's rant.

Thamana tweeted: "Dear Mr Peter Mokaba? … I wish all whites had been killed when you sang 'Kill the Boer', then we wouldn't have to experience @JessicaLeandra's racism [sic]."

Her tweet drew widespread condemnation and was later removed, although she initially defended herself: "Dear all … Why do people think I am a racist when I said it was wrong to be racist SMH [shaking my head] … Really!"

International relations and cooperation department spokesperson Clayson Monyela tweeted to her that her words amounted to hate speech.

"We have to value each other and not condemn each other," Thamana responded.

Although she initially declined to apologise, she crumbled days later and tweeted: "Yes, racism is wrong and I apologise for the 'kill all whites' tweet … It was tweeted in anger."

Later she added: "Dear SA, sincere apologies for the death wish for white people, it was tweeted in anger and yes, condemnation of each other is wrong."

Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane arranged a meeting with the two women at his home in Roodepoort for them to meet and make up.

@sabina1essa

Seems like it was a case of dumb and dumber when yet another model landed herself in hot water for bragging on Twitter about bribing a Johannesburg metro police officer.

FHM model Sabina Essa posted a message reading: "Just got out of a R2 500 fine for going 140 in a 60 zone. R30! Bwahahahaha. I LOVE JMPD."

When a Twitter user asked whether she had offered the bribe, she responded: "I didn't offer, dumb-ass. They asked what I had. Of course, I'm gonna take the offer."

This caught the attention of Justice Project South Africa chief executive Howard Dembovsky, who was shocked that someone could boast about a bribe, and that police officers had not arrested her for a serious offence.

He then contacted Essa to reprimand her. She apparently told him she posted the tweet for "some attention" from her followers.

Dembovsky said the model then panicked about the consequences the tweet would have for her and her planned career as an attorney.

After their discussion, she tweeted: "So sorry for my tweet. I fabricated the story to attract attention, we sometimes all do it and [I am] superembarassed."

@helenzille

The Democratic Alliance leader caused a storm in a Twitter cup in March when she referred to Eastern Cape pupils attending Western Cape schools as refugees. She tweeted in reference to a protest in Grabou about overcrowding at a local school:

“While ECape education collapsed, WC built 30 schools - 22 new, 8 replacement mainly 4 ECape edu refugees. 26 MORE new schools coming.”

Her tweet sparked an uproar on the social network and beyond, with many calling her out for using a pejorative and deeply loaded term. The ANC slammed it as racist, while youth activist Lukhona Mnguni lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, claiming Zille had violated section 21 of the Bill of Rights.

Zille initially defended her comment, saying the furore over it deflected from the real issues facing the education system. A month later, she apologised for the 140 slips of her fingers during her appearance on SABC TV. “[I am] very sorry because it was never meant in that context at all and it was never said in that way at all,” she said.  

@MorganDeane

Graeme Smith has a huge penis. That's according to his wife.

Morgan Smith tweeted a photo of a self-help book titled How to Live with a Huge Penis and said it would help her husband "solve all his problems".

This isn't the first time Morgan has referred to her sex life on Twitter.

In 2011, she shared with her followers that sex with Graeme "is goooood".

@DJFreshSA

Johannesburg club H2O used a cartoon of a woman being sworn at and punched in the face to promote the upcoming visit of an international DJ.

It was uploaded on the club’s Facebook page as part of a campaign to prevent the opening DJs from playing music by the headline act.

Reams of comments called the cartoon "distasteful", "sick" and "disgusting".

But despite this, 5FM's DJ Fresh endorsed the cartoon with a tweet linking to it with the comment: "Lol. All the @Avicii tour DJs got this gentle reminder."

The Big Dawg has since apologised for his post.

@DJFreshSA: "I REPEAT: The assault of ANYBODY (let alone women) is wrong! The Cartoon was about DJ-ing! I apologize unreservedly to those it offended!"

@toshpolela

Even important figureheads have suffered from foot in mouth disease.

The Hawks' spokesperson McIntosh Polela had to apologise for making light of rape in prison.

Polela tweeted, "I trust that JubJub’s supporters gave him a jar of Vaseline to take to prison," which was tweeted shortly after the music star was found guilty of murder and denied bail.

But then Polela, after spending nearly a day defending his initial comment, tweeted: "My tweet about JubJub on Tuesday nite was in poor taste. I profoundly regret posting & hereby retract it. Je suis desole. [I’m sorry]".

Unfortunately, his apology was a little too late as he was suspended from work for three weeks.

This was not the first time that Polela attracted criticism for his tweets.

Others include:

"Zuma knows nothing. The illiterate Jacob Zuma – Julius Malema."

"Had a strange dream. Greetings & handshake with Mugabe. Scrubbed my hands when I woke up – in case Bob’s zombie visited in my sleep."

@LanceTheWitten

eNews sports anchor Lance Witten found himself on the wrong side of news reports over a tweet following the news of a fan’s death at the Linkin Park concert in Cape Town in November.

The fan died after temporary scaffolding outside the Cape Town stadium collapsed due to high winds.

Witten tweeted: "Linkin Park is so badass, people are dying to see ‘em."

Tweeters responded angrily and Etv suspended him. 


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