South Africa as a democratic society allows its people to express themselves. Citizens can exercise their freedom of expression via social media or in any domain, as enshrined by our Constitution.
But sometimes you also need to know when to stay quiet, as can be seen by this sorry list of public figures who landed in big trouble for their controversial comments.
1. Helen Zille's colonialism tweets
For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 16, 2017
Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 16, 2017
She later apologized, saying she never intended to defend colonialism. She was later forced to step down from all decision-making structures from the DA.
I apologise unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 16, 2017
2. Talk Radio 702: Comparing dogs and babies
Bathong! #702 apologies for this tweet pic.twitter.com/7InrUGHIUp— The FIAH 🔥 (@MTVNewsish) July 24, 2017
Remember when 702 had the fun walk? Well, they tried to be a bit too cute when they compared babies of colour to dogs by tweeting 'Dog Vs Baby' whose cuter? They later apologised for the tweet.
Radio 702 is pretty awful at taking responsibility. Here's their 'apology' No mention of the tweet, just 'our tweet' pic.twitter.com/M0dqp473gC— Victor Dlamini (@victordlamini) July 24, 2017
3. Andrew Barnes mocks Angie Motshekga
Andrew Barnes was a news anchor for eNCA. He came under major scrutiny when he thought he was acting clever by mocking Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga over a word she could not pronounce.
He later apologised for his comments.
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4. The Hawks' McIntosh Polela's Jub Jub joke
Former Hawks Spokesperson McIntosh Polela lost his job following his irresponsible and disturbing comment he made on Twitter to Jub Jub following his prosecution.
5. Standard Bank's Chris Hart on apartheid
Former Standard Bank economist Chris Hart found himself in a spot of bother following an insulting tweet which led to his resignation.
After Standard Bank suspended Hart, he later resigned and apologised for his tweets.
6. Judge Mabel Jansen on apartheid and colonialism
Judge Mabel Jansen took it to the extreme when she went on a Twitter rant and called out the previously disadvantaged.
7. Penny Sparrow's monkey tweets
Not a high-profile South Africa, but when Sparrow posted those racial tweets it caused a national uproar.
Who do we have to tweet/call to have Penny Sparrow put out of business? pic.twitter.com/nuiZ18ykJh— thembekile (@ThembiMrototo) January 3, 2016
She made things far worse when she justified her actions and said that she was merely "stating the facts".