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Fri Nov 28 05:02:15 SAST 2014

'Rise up' call sparks debate

Rowan Philp | 26 March, 2011 23:420 Comments

A secretive "hacktivist" group's YouTube call for South Africans to rise up against the government has sparked fierce online debate.

Claiming to be from the global group known as "Anonymous" - which has crashed major websites such as Wikileaks and which encouraged Egyptians to rise up - the five-minute video message blasts the South African government on crime, poverty and the export of mineral wealth.

It warns President Jacob Zuma that "we don't forgive; we don't forget - expect us", and asks South Africans to "take to the streets" and "take (your) country back" in 2011.

The clip was viewed by more than 2500 people in its first five days.

But while it has been praised by at least one human rights lobby group, others have called it "irresponsible mischief" and "foreigners meddling in what they don't understand".

The message features a synthesised American voice over music from the movie Terminator.

According to the social media news site Memeburn: "This particular message from Anonymous to South Africa is short on details, and offers no solution to the multitude of problems".

The video was also posted on the Facebook group, "Taking Back South Africa: 2011", where it triggered debate among its 430 members.

Belinda Silbert, a Cape Town-based futurist wrote: "Who is truly behind all of this mischief-making? Who has such a vested interest in unleashing anarchy? I do not think that this is the way forward in South Africa."

A government spokesman did not respond to questions. James Lorimer, a spokesman for the DA, said: "It seems no one knows exactly who is behind this, so my initial reaction is that this lacks credibility."

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