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ANC leaders urged to be disciplined on social media

Former President Jacob Zuma took to Twitter to voice his displeasure at the recent utterances by his successor Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

FILE: A screengrab of Jacob Zuma making a point in his Twitter video on 2 January 2019.

DURBAN – The African National Congress (ANC) says its leaders, including former President Jacob Zuma, will have to be disciplined for what the party says is the negative use of social media which in turn harms the movement’s brand.

Zuma, who has amassed a huge Twitter following, took to the platform on Tuesday to voice his displeasure at the recent utterances by his successor Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

The pair had alluded to what they described as “nine wasted years” in South Africa which was seen as a swipe on the former president’s tenure.

Zuma was also involved in a Twitter spat with the ANC’s elections chief Fikile Mbalula after the latter questioned his presence at a government event in Limpopo.

The pair later buried the hatchet online.

Acting ANC national spokesperson Dakota Legoete says public spats between party leaders on social media harm the ruling party’s brand especially ahead of a crucial election.

“The former president, as a leader and a member of the ANC... I think it’s a matter that can be handled by our top six [leaders] with him so that he can be reprimanded, but I think it’s a matter that will receive the necessary attention. But not only the former president, including all other leaders of the ANC.”

But political analyst Lukhona Mnguni says he doubts the ANC will be able to stop leaders such as Zuma from making public statements that reflect the party in a negative light.

This, he adds, is because the ANC has been unable to discipline Zuma and others in the past.

“The leadership of the ANC itself is the one that is giving Zuma these legs to stand on because if you read that long Twitter message that he posted yesterday, he was quite clear that he has always acted on behalf and on the interest of the ANC. And it was always the ANC that was willing to take collective responsibility for all his wrongs.”

Meanwhile, Legoete has called for all members to adhere to the party’s social media policy.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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