Published Eminetra | September 17, 2021
As the November elections get closer, political parties are out in full force, rubbing elbows, giggling over infants, pointing out the faults of their opponents, and making pledges to their supporters.
The African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s two most powerful political parties, are both putting out massive amounts of internet propaganda.
A previous investigation of the DA and its leadership by digital analyst Carmen Murray revealed that frontman John Steenhuisen is not as well-known as his predecessor, Helen Zille, among other factors.
The ANC’s story seems to be quite similar to the rest of the world.
Even while President Cyril Ramaphosa has a larger social media following than his predecessor by a factor of nearly three to one, his reach and interaction with the general public are much less extensive.
After more consideration, it becomes apparent that Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa and part-time prisoner, is one of the most widely followed leaders in the country.
And he’s just been active on Twitter since the beginning of this year. Mr Fix, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, is even more popular on social media, with 2.5 million followers on Twitter, outranking Ramaphosa by about 500,000 admirers.
Even though Zuma only has 605,000 votes, he is by far the most popular candidate, according to poll results.
In the words of Murray, Zuma’s “social media approach is top shelf.” Zuma’s online performance, he adds, is comparable to anything out of former US President Donald Trump’s playbook.
“He follows the proper people, including politicians, sports celebrities, branches of the African National Congress, and other global leaders.” Not only does he share a part of his personality with those he follows, but he also keeps his finger on the pulse of the ANC in this manner.”
Zuma also follows some extremely beautiful women, according to her, whose profile photos are very suggestive, but there is no evidence of any online courting between the two of them, she adds.
‘Valentine’s Day must already be a big party in Nkandla, what with all the spouses,’ says Murray of the celebration.
The fact that Zuma continues to be a very relevant and powerful public figure in South Africa cannot be argued with.
Ramaphosa, on the other hand, seems to be more of a mystery, since he does not interact with his supporters and does not provide much insight into his character.
While he has a large number of followers, contact with them is minimal, and according to Murray, “it is obvious that he does not manage the account personally.”
She describes his answers and behavior as “very intellectual and stiff, very problem-oriented, and he comes across as someone who isn’t really a people’s person.” She thinks he is “not really a people’s person.”
People seem to be interested in learning about the president’s belief system, what he stands for as a human being, who his family members are, and what they’re like, rather than just skimming over the surface of pure issue-based debate,” says the author.
Zuma, on the other hand, is a big hit with the audience. During a recent campaign visit to Naledi, Soweto, Ramaphosa was booed by the crowd.
“It’s not unexpected that, in an age in which personality or character politics are becoming more important, he may be falling behind the times.”
People seem to be interested in the credentials of Health Minister Joe Phaahla, as well as those of the Democratic Alliance’s top whip, Natasha Mazzone, and her leader, Rutger Steenhuisen.
“President Ramaphosa has to make himself much more available online,” says the author. Indeed, this is the most direct path to the public, where voters may be persuaded and where you can give them a sense of who you are as a candidate. It is very important in today’s political environment. Zuma and Mr Fix both seem to understand that you’re a brand, which is refreshing.”