Shortly after it was announced that incumbent President Jacob Zuma was re-elected as the African National Congress’ (ANC) president, the Democratic Alliance (DA) reeled in members through Twitter.
President Zuma won an overwhelming 4,000 votes from delegates at the ANC’s Manguang Conference, which was held in Bloemfontein central city, despite corruption allegations. Should the ANC win the general election of 2014, Zuma will lead South Africa until 2019.
Helen Zille, leader of the DA, said it was a sad day for South Africa after Zuma’s re-election because the ANC places “powerful people” above the law.
The DA took advantage of Zuma’s re-election and the outcry by many South Africans by running a Twitter-driven membership campaign.
The DA caucus in Manguang said: “We invite all South Africans who are disappointed, to join the DA in working for, and delivering, meaningful social change and job creation in SA.”
The DA then tweeted: “Looking for a viable political alternative that can deliver for ALL? Join the DA here”, with a link following.
It would seem the DA’s Twitter membership campaign was largely successful as many disgruntled South Africans on Twitter replied to the party’s message with positive support comments and asking where they could join. Lindiwe Mazibuko, the DA’s parliamentary leader, retweeted many of these messages.
@LindiweEM - Lindi Mashini tweeted “@LindiMazibuko You have my vote! I am not voting for Zuma as my President in 2014! For the 1st time in my life I am ashamed of the ANC!”
@adriaantaljaard – Adriaan Taljaard tweeted: “@DA_News Change is in the air… Poor South Africans angry over ANC rot.
@nmothibi, Nkosinathi Mothibi tweeted: “@LindiMazibuko, I want to jump ship, please provide contacts for any Midrand branch.”
@SMbulana – Sisanda Mbulana tweeted: “I’m officially joining the DA. Can’t stand Jacob Zuma and his people.”
On Facebook, the DA posted on its wall “keep calm and vote DA in 2014 #Manguang” to which they received 1069 likes and 431 comments.
Unrelated to the DA, a Facebook group was set up in November ahead of the Manguang conference titled “Jacob Zuma is not my president” and has already reached almost 1,000 members. The group posted yesterday: “If the ANC delegates cannot vote Zuma out, we the public will show them how in 2014.”
The ANC hit back at the DA, stating Zille’s comments were the result of “political jealousy inspired by malicious desperation to have the same support enjoyed by the ANC in this country.”
However, if the DA’s growing support on social networks is any indication of political change, the ANC may not enjoy the same support in the future.
The ANC (@MyANC) has a total of 33,841 followers on Twitter, and the DA (@DA_News) 17,083. President Zuma (@SAPresident) has a total of 187,575 with Zille (@helenzille) taking the lead with 214,093 followers.