Malema’s campaign goes online

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Copy of NT_juju0 REUTERS EFF leader Julius Malema. File photo

Johannesburg - Economic Freedom Fighters president Julius Malema took to Facebook and Twitter to conduct a live chat with the public, fielding a wide variety of questions ranging from EFF priorities to education to e-tolls.

In the hour-long chat on Monday, which was postponed twice before taking place at 3pm, Malema tackled questions about his plans for the country.

The EFF’s first priority after taking office would be to expropriate land “without compensation for equal redistribution”, he said.

Addressing a question on unemployment solutions, Malema reiterated his commitment to nationalisation, which he said would lead to industrialisation.

Malema promised to create a youth league for the EFF after the elections.

Embracing social media, the EFF Facebook page posted a picture of Malema answering questions and announced there would be a chat every Monday.

About 1 000 comments were posted on Facebook. Hundreds of followers, including journalists and lobby groups, posted questions using the hashtag #MalemaQandA.

Will Green, founder of Apurimac Media, which has released a study analysing parties’ social media strategies, said Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media had reached many South African followers and would play a large role in the elections.

The effectiveness of Malema’s live chat would depend on how many of the participants were registered voters and South African citizens. It was hard to tell via social media, Green said, noting that other parties were not doing it.

“This is South Africa’s first digital election,” Green said.

His study found that Twitter was better at helping individual politicians to communicate, while Facebook served as a better communication tool for the party as a whole.

After a month of the social media study, the results showed the DA and the EFF had a more active social media presence than the ANC and that Malema had more Twitter followers than Helen Zille.

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