Time to vote for South Africa. Picture: Supplied
Time to vote for South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Capitalist Party ‘punches above its weight’ online

By wendy jasson da costa and political staff Time of article published May 5, 2019

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Durban - IN AN age when political battles are won or lost in cyberspace, the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP) has been engaged in full-out war and was giving the bigger parties a run for their money in the run-up to Wednesday’s elections.

Just six weeks old and with donations of R212000, the party also known as the Purple Cow because of its symbol, engaged potential supporters on Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and by means of YouTube conferences.

Kanthan Pillay, one of the party’s 10 candidates who hope to get into Parliament, said former US president Barack Obama had started his White House bid on social media.

President Donald Trump has used Twitter to his advantage as has Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Recently, Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky used the social media platform to deliver a crushing blow to his opponent to become the new president.

“In terms of social media, we are punching way above our weight,” said Pillay. “Ten years ago it would have been impossible to pull this off.”

He said while his party was competing against parties with marketing budgets totalling hundreds of millions, social media made it possible to talk directly to voters and get to the people it was actively targeting.

He said the party expected to surprise a lot of people when the election results were released. “When you go to a voting booth... the Purple Cow will leap out at you,” he said.

Pillay said several people had changed their avatars to purple cows and there were even memes featuring purple cows.

Patricia de Lille’s Good party appeared not to have been able to match her personal Twitter presence, only managing to garner about 3900 followers compared to De Lille’s 162000 Facebook followers.

The former Cape Town mayor’s official Facebook page had over 35550 “likes” and another 32200 followers.

The troubled African Transformation Movement, which counted former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi among its leaders had also managed nearly 3650 Twitter followers. Manyi had almost 168000 followers on the microblogging site.

The African Content Movement, the party of another colourful figure, former SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, had only a paltry 427 followers.

The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, which was associated with the country’s biggest single trade union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, had over 1750 followers on Twitter.

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