Just days into 2019, these 4 politicians are already feeling the Twitter heat

03 January 2019 - 09:24
By Ntokozo Miya
Former president Jacob Zuma was dragged on Twitter after he shared his opinion on the land debate.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER Former president Jacob Zuma was dragged on Twitter after he shared his opinion on the land debate.

It's only the third day of the new year and already these four politicians have gotten on the wrong side of Twitter.

1. Jacob Zuma

After receiving a warm welcome when he joined Twitter three weeks ago, former president Jacob Zuma got a taste of what it feels like to be on the bad books of people on social media.

Zuma became a Twitter casualty on Wednesday when he posted two videos captioned "My opinion on the land issue".

"Whites came, in South Africa in particular, came in and took the land. The struggle, the wars that were fought, many thousands and thousands of people who died defending their land, some were actually removed from a huge stretch of land ... You can't say those things did not happen," said Zuma.

The former president went on to clarify his opinion: "We are saying those who own huge stretches of land must share it with those who are indigenous, who owned this land before."

Some people on Twitter thought Zuma's opinion was populist, while others questioned why he had done little about the land issue in the nine years that he was the president. 

2. Donald Trump

By now, US president Donald Trump must have developed a thick skin against any social media backlash. Every time he tweets, he is guaranteed to get thousands of replies, many of them critical.

On the very first day of the year, Trump got people worked up on Twitter. In a tweet that seemed like it was intended to be provocative, Trump wrote: "HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA!"

The Twitter community found the post "unpresidential" and did not hesitate to let the president know, with nearly 75,000 replies.

3. Derek Hanekom

The author of another 'tweet gone wrong' is tourism minister Derek Hanekom, who singled out Johannesburg as a filthy city and implied that it had deteriorated since the DA's Herman Mashaba took over as mayor.

South African Twitter found the tweet unbecoming of a minister charged with growing the country's tourism industry. Also, many people felt that the minister was biased in shaming Johannesburg while many ANC-led municipalities were in an equally appalling state. 

4. Tito Mboweni

Mboweni's turn to feel the heat also came quite early in the new year. After days of Mboweni tweeting about how "clean and beautiful" the Rwandan city of Kigali is, South Africans couldn't take it anymore.

People on Twitter thought the finance minister's tweets were overly enthusiastic, especially when he tweeted a photo of a filthy local street corner and wrote: "You won't see this in Kigali."