ANC, Jacob Zuma and uMkhonto weSizwe the most talked about online

Former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: File

Former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: File

Published Feb 17, 2024


For the past two months the ruling party, the recently formed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party and former president Jacob Zuma have held the ‘hot topic’ on social media streets.

After tracking the online elections conversation across various social media platforms, the latest findings of the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) have revealed that the ANC, and Zuma along with his new party of choice, the MK Party were the talk of the social streets.

Coverage tracked between December 31 and January 31, showed that although social grants and the unrelenting load shedding remained the two hot topics online for many people, they were frustrated by the country’s politics.

With as many as 500 000 mentions, it was discovered that calls to register to vote were often shared alongside party materials, with non-partisan posts shared by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), micro influencers and celebrities.

While prompts by political parties to register were predominately attached to hashtags calling for people to vote for a particular candidate or party.

Most of the mentions have been the fracas between the ANC and its former president with as many as 85 977 mentions for ANC, 60 354 mentions under #votemk2024, and Zuma mentioned at least 45 461 times.

Some of the misinformation that seems to have been on people’s minds has been about claims that the IEC is allowing illegal immigrants to register to vote with fake ID and, allegations that president Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC were planning to assassinate Zuma.

Other issues related to Zuma also focused on his eligibility to run for a seat in parliament, with some questioning how this could be possible given his criminal record.

Even though unsurprisingly the ANC has remained the most talked about party amassing 40% of mentions, what has been an even bigger surprise has been the immense growth witnessed with the MK Party, which had the second-highest number of mentions at 27%.

Researchers said little-to-no mentions were made with regards to individual and administrative barriers related to registering to vote. However, it is expected this will change especially after the conclusion of the last in-person voter registration drive.

The centre said the results were drawn from five barriers identified in analysing voter abstention in the 2021 local government elections – namely personal and administrative barriers, political alignment, disillusionment with politics and performance evaluations.

Saturday Star

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