The Detention Justice Forum’s statement against Mcintosh Polela, released on 17 October, quickly gained media traction, and Mr. Polela has since retracted his statement via his Twitter account. On 18 October, he wrote: “My tweet about Jub Jub on Tuesday night was in poor taste. I profoundly regret posting & hereby retract it. Je suis desole.”
The retraction followed a media flurry, including an interview of Detention Justice Forum Co-Secretariat, Sasha Gear of Just Detention International, on ETV’s News Night. Ms. Gear welcomed Mr. Polela’s retraction of the tweet but reiterated that the Detention Justice Forum would still be seeking a meeting with him, and highlighted its concerns regarding the destructive impact of such comments. The interview ended on a positive note – that this episode has at least gotten us talking about prisoner rape – so urgently in need of attention and better understanding. Other coverage of this story can be found at the following links.
- Cape Argus, “Hawks Man’s Foot-in-Mouth Jub Jub Tweet”
- Mail & Guardian, “Mcintosh Polela’s Jub Jub Tweet Ruffles Feathers”
- News24, “Polela apologises for Vaseline tweet”
The Detention Justice Forum is still seeking to engage Mr. Polela in further discussion. The Forum will also seek a meeting with Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, who made a similar Twitter statement/retraction about prisoner rape in April this year. The Forum seeks to engage them in public dialogue on this topic. Lastly, the Detention Justice Forum is seeking a meeting with Minister of Correctional Services, Sibusiso Ndebele, to push for urgent adoption of the Policy Framework to Address Sexual Abuse.
Sonke Gender Justice is co-secretariat for the Detention Justice Forum.