The government on Friday retracted its tweet mocking EFF leader Julius Malema's lament on Twitter that he was grabbed by his genitals during a tussle in Parliament.
Just after 18:00, the government's Twitter profile was used to retweet the photo Malema had posted, and added the caption "hahahaha".
The retweet was removed. At 18:31 the government tweeted an apology.
"We would like to deeply apologise for the previous retweet. It was a mistake. We reiterate that any form of violence is unacceptable."
Government communications director Donald Liphoko told News24 that a junior official was under the impression that he was tweeting from his personal handle.
"He told me that he made an honest mistake," Liphoko said.
He would discuss the matter with the official on Monday.
Malema on Friday tweeted a photo of himself, his face crumpled in pain, surrounded by Parliament's white-shirted security guards as he and his fellow MPs are ejected from the State of the Nation Address. The caption reads "The bastard is squeezing my balls yeses".
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete asked security to forcefully remove the EFF after they repeatedly stopped President Jacob Zuma from delivering his speech on Thursday night.