Tweet at your peril, police employees advised

2013-05-17 00:00

ON the same day that former Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela heard in the media he had been dismissed, police employees received an e-mail entitled “Social media — be responsible, the Internet is forever”.

The internal e-mail advises police employees to check their profiles on Twitter and Facebook for content that could be damaging to the police service or their careers.

Although Polela’s appeal against his dismissal was turned down on May 8, the police only confirmed this to his attorney yesterday, he said.

Polela yesterday did not want to say whether he was considering legal steps against the police, or what his plans were.

He said he had never been informed his appeal against his dismissal had been unsuccessful, but had heard about it in the media.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa admitted this week in answer to a parliamentary question that R323 238,41 had been paid to Polela since he was suspended on full salary in November.

The dismissal followed a tweet by Polela in which he joked about rape in prison. He initially refused to apologise because he said he had made the joke in his private capacity.

The internal e-mail gives directions to remove tweets and Facebook postings and points out that several police officers have made undesirable comments on their social media platforms, which criticise the police or other state departments, use swear words or contain inappropriate photos.

The e-mail also stated an internal policy document would soon be issued to inform police employees on the “dos and don’ts” because “the Internet is forever and can be very unforgiving”.

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