South African Politicians Active in the Social Mediasphere


We all know about the celebrated political social media campaign that played a part in putting US President Barack Obama in the White House. It was unprecedented, using advanced social networking functionality and integration with social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Politicians today realise that Facebook, in particular, is a platform they cannot ignore. It’s where many of society’s influencers and do-ers hang out. If you consider that there are now nearly three-million South Africans on Facebook, that’s quite a few votes to influence.

Politicians are supposed to be elected to public office to speak for the people and to represent their best interests. But all too often, they disappear into the hallowed halls of power and go silent, only to reappear moments before the next election. Social tools like Twitter and Facebook have altered all of that, providing us with somewhat of a direct line (if not a little fuzzy) to politicians. Now you can speak directly to those in power and hold them accountable. Or can you?

Memeburn searched high-and-low to find the Twitter and Facebook accounts of some of the more tech-savvy South African leaders. There are plenty of fake accounts out there, but these are the real-deal.

Politicians on Twitter:

  1. @presidencyza
    Twitter Bio:
    This is the official Twitter page of The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa.South Africa’s presidency appears to be online and social media savvy. The official Twitter account of the South African Presidency, with more than 4 000 followers, is active and a must-follow. The Twitter account features a day-to-day account of President Jacob Zuma and other high-ranking ministers’ whereabouts and official appearances.

    It also features links to press releases and other interesting info. It’s formal and dignified, as befits the presidency of the republic. We’re surprised that it doesn’t have more followers.

  2. @Mgigaba
    Malusi Gigaba
    Twitter Bio:
    Minister of Public Enterprises – Republic of South AfricaThe former Deputy Minister of Home Affairs was gifted with a promotion to Minister of Public Enterprises, but had yet to tweet about it at the time of writing. Gigaba actually tweets fairly regularly with strong some strong opinions. It’s a responsive and active account, and also the source of rich political commentary like: “The merger of DA and ID would not solve the race question in the DA. The recent DA Congress reaffirmed its status quo.” Here’s a Tweet on the ANC’s stance on tensions within the ruling alliance: “It’s not possible to be ANC and be anti-communists. Equally communists must be exemplary in their conduct.” Useful information about the ministry’s official visits and radio and TV appearances are also tweeted.

  3. @HelenZille
    Name: Helen Zille
    Twitter Bio:Western Cape Premier and Leader of South Africa’s official opposition party, The Democratic Alliance.Helen Zille has an extremely active account for a South African politician and seems to have embraced Twitter fully. With about 15 000 followers, Zille also claims to have had one of the first local “verified accounts”, a claim she made while making an official appearance at a blog awards ceremony this year. This is one social-media savvy politician. Memeburn interviewed her a few months ago about her Twitter use and was impressed by her grasp of the medium.

    Zille’s party, the official opposition DA, has a strong presence on social networks like Twitter and Facebook reflecting the party’s largely middle-class, urban constituency.

  4. @LindiMazibuko
    Lindiwe Mazibuko
    Twitter Bio:
    Member of Parliament for North Durban; Democratic Alliance National Spokesperson; Self described “baker, mover, shaker; hopeless romantic”.Lindiwe Mazibuko is currently the National Spokesperson for the opposition DA, and the party’s shadow deputy minister for communications. Mazibuko is South Africa’s fourth youngest parliamentarian, so it’s no wonder she’s a mover and shaker on Twitter too. She’s funny, smart and really plugged-in, although her blog, Princess Shorty, has fallen quiet. But this MP is very active on Twitter and may just take the title of the hippest MP around.
  5. @Jay_Naidoo
    Name Jay Naidoo
    Twitter Bio: An ANC politician and co-founder of the J&J Group, Chairperson of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and former Minister of State and political activist.This former minister was responsible for the Reconstruction and Development Programme during President Mandela’s tenure and held the post of Minister of Telecommunications and Broadcasting. Naidoo’s Twitter account has a mixture of political commentary, like this: “Lula-a president to vote 4- 12 m jobs in his 8 yrs & 20 m people out of poverty. Will not change constitut even if people want him 2″ and a few pearls of wisdom, like this: “‘Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain’. Wisdom to live by.” Worth a follow.
  6. @Elza_Van_Lingen
    Name Elza van Lingen
    Twitter Bio: Since May 2009, Elza has been a DA parliamentarian and works as permanent delegate for the Eastern Cape in National Council of Provinces (NCOP).A regular tweeter, Elza is currently the DA’s Eastern Cape finance chairperson and serves as the party representative on the provincial executive and the federal finance committee. She’s active on Twitter but her tweets tend to be rather negative, focussing on everything that’s wrong with the country. Could I have that glass of water half full please?
  7. @gareth_morgan
    Name Gareth Morgan
    Twitter Bio: South African MP, Shadow Minister of Water & Environmental AffairsMorgan tweets about climate change, water and energy affairs. He’s a member of the GLOBE Climate Dialogue, and has represented the South African parliament at six GLOBE meetings around the world. Like Van Lingen, his tweets tend to be a bit downbeat for us.
  8. @FrontLineGreg
    Name Greg Krumbock
    Twitter Bio:
    Member of Parliament, Shadow Minister of Tourism, On the ball for the World CupKrumbock is an infrequent tweeter and in fact, has fallen silent since the 2010 Fifa World Cup. In fact, his last tweet was on the day of the World Cup Final. He was originally appointed by the DA in 1998 as Executive Director of the party. In 1999 he was elected to parliament and has served ever since.

  9. @jsteenhuisen
    Name John Steenhuisen
    Twitter Bio:
    Steenhuisen is the leader of the Democratic Alliance in KZN and in the KZN legislature.Another infrequent tweeter, Steenhuisen has written very few tweets and they tend to be unrelated to politics and mostly about rugby.

  10. @Grantpascoe
    Name Grant Pascoe
    Twitter Bio:
    Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development in the City of Cape Town & DA Metro ChairpersonGrant Pascoe serves on Cape Town’s mayoral committee, and is worth following since he’s very active and passionate with many interesting tweets and links. He also responds to questions regularly, and his passion for the work he does comes across strongly.
  11. @ANC_Info
    Name ANC Info Feed
    Twitter Bio: This is the official African National Congress Twitter feed.The official Twitter feed of the country’s ruling party started with a bang, then went dead in the middle of the year. It looks like it has been recently revived with a couple of recent Tweets about ANC events and reports released, such as “ANC NGC 2010 Day One: Report on the State of the Organisation by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe –“ At the time of Memeburn looking at it though, it had failed to update in two weeks. Surely there must be more going on?

  12. @ianollis
    Name Ian Ollis
    Twitter Bio:
    “South African, innovative leader and DA Member of Parliament”An active and twitter-savvy parliamentarian. Has some interesting and funny updates, definitely worth a look.

  13. @timharris
    Tim Harris
    Twitter Bio:
    Backbencher, Surfer, African Traveller, CapetonianActive tweeter and currently a Democratic Alliance member of Parliament’s National Council of Provinces, where he sits on the select committee on finance. He was also chief of staff to then party leader Tony Leon and is well-informed. How many MP’s do you know that would send a tweet like this: “This is brilliant: Ian Roberts, Jack Parow & Rian Malan in a boereorkes zombie braai-fest: “Blaas jou vuvuzela”.

  14. @DABhisho
    DA Bhisho
    Twitter Bio:
    Eastern Cape Legislature.This is the official account of the DA’s Eastern Cape legislature team. While it might be a “group account” it’s worth a follow since they are extremely active as far as posting goes. It’s a shame that they have so few followers, considering how informative their feed is about the issues facing the Eastern Cape.

  15. @DA_News
    Name Democratic Alliance
    Twitter Bio:
    The latest news from the Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s official opposition, and party of government in the Western Cape.South Africa’s largest opposition party uses its group Twitter account to spread its press releases.

    Politicans on Facebook:

  16. Mbhazima Shilowa, Congress of the People (COPE) Deputy President | Facebook Page
    Shilowa is the embattled deputy president of new opposition political party, COPE. Largely shunning Twitter, COPE is a big Facebook user with a healthy Fan base on their official page. Sadly Cope’s Facebook presence has become known more for mudslinging and controversy, than innovation. Shilowa’s profile was set to private when we initially found it, which is a bit strange for a public figure. But we added him as a friend and were quickly accepted. Shilowa’s favourite quote, on his Facebook profile page, is one by Karl Marx: “Man make history but not under their own choosing”.
  17. Mosiuoa Lekota, COPE President | Facebook Page
    Lekota is the president of COPE and locked in a very public and rather bitter struggle with Shilowa. We noted however that they are “friends” on Facebook. Lekota has a mere 300 Facebook friends but he is beginning to use the page regularly and interacts with his supporters on his wall in a friendly and approachable manner.
  1. Sello Moloto
    Moloto is a member of the Limpopo Legislature. His account isn’t that active and most of the activity on the wall appears to be from his followers.
  2. Nick Koornhof
    Another COPE member on Facebook with privacy set to full, yet he accepted our friend request after a couple of days. His account is rather sparse with very little info and almost no activity. Koornhof has just 146 friends leading to a fairly-bleak looking wall as well. Not really worth the wait of the friend request.
  3. Leonard Ramatlakane
    MEC Leonard Ramatlakane was also locked down tight when it came to privacy, but when we finally got accepted as friends we found that Ramatlakane was actually pretty active even-though most of what’s on the wall is just political rhetoric. One major difference we found is that Ramatlakane has a landline and mobile number under his info, so if you’d like to give him a call it’s worth the friend request.
  4. Bantu Holomisa | Facebook Page
    Facebook profile Bantu Holomisa is a rugby fanatic, promoter of education, protector of the environment, fighter for South Africans and a corruption free individual and a Kaizer Chiefs fan. He has both a Facebook Page and a profile. The page is a little quiet, while he posts almost 5 000 friends on his profile.
  5. Anele Mda
    Full privacy, locked tight but fast to accept us as a friend, and with over 4 000 friends, she’s clearly doing something right. Right now she’s a member of COPE but things move fast in that party and by the time you read this, she may be somewhere else. Mda’s favourite quote is: “I have fought against white domination, I have fought against black domination, I have cherished the ideas of a free society where all people live together in harmony…” One problem though, she attributes the quote to former president Thabo Mbeki. It was Nelson Mandela who said those famous words.
  6. Nikiwe Num
    Nikiwe Num is the Cope leader in the North-West. Her profile is open to the public, informative and up to date. She’s also got “How Stella got her groove back” listed as a favorite movie, go and add her.

Reposted from the original listing over on Memeburn

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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