The emergence of social media has brought out the good, the bad and the ugly side of some of the country’s politicians. It’s let South Africans into the hearts and minds of many public figures that without it – their convictions would otherwise remain a mystery to many.

Ambassador to Denmark and daughter of struggle icons Winnie and Nelson Mandela, Zindzi Mandela, former President Jacob Zuma, ex-DA leader Helen Zille, Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, ANC National Executive Committee member Tony Yengeni and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni are some politicians who are using the platform fearlessly; sometimes striking a raw nerve of some South Africans.

Mandela has been trending for several days now following her post on the land issue.

 

The Tweet has taken a life of its own – with racism, her father’s legacy and whether the diplomat should be fired taking centre-stage. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) is investigating the incident.

 

 

 

 

 


Mandela’s views are not the only ones that have exposed South Africa’s racial division and the hurt many still feel over the brutality of the apartheid rule and the settlement reached by politicians during the negotiations held before the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.

The DA’s Helen Zille is another public figure who has stirred the pot in the past. Her most recent controversial post was on Black Privilege, which saw former Public Protector Professor Thuli Madonsela stepping into the murky waters of a Twitter war.

 

 

 

The two leaders have since kissed and made up over a cup of tea.


The platform has, on the other hand, also revealed a soft and fun side of some leaders, like Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, who was previously only known to the public as a no-nonsense and bottom-line type of a guy. However, now South Africans have had a glimpse not only of his love for tin fish, Rwanda and farming, but his culinary skills too.

 

This led to some having fun with the Minister.


Former President Jacob Zuma also took to social media, openly throwing his weight behind embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede.

He contradicted the ANC’s stance on Gumede a day after she was instructed to temporarily bow out of office until the outcome of her corruption case is pronounced.

South Africans fired back.

Masina and Yengeni are other ANC leaders who’ve lashed out at some of the Ramaphosa administration’s decisions on social media.

names @City_Ekurhuleni

— Mzwandile Masina (@mzwandileMasina) June 13, 2019

While others have accused these leaders of sowing divisions with their controversial and sometimes blunt statements, others believe it is good for the country’s healing from the trauma of apartheid and development. They say it should be encouraged rather than suppressed.