cape town tour

Twitter – a dangerous weapon or instrument of democracy?

A fascinating case is playing out in South Africa this week: Trevor Manuel, seasoned ANC politician of great standing and Finance Minster under Mandela and Mbeki, was this week accused of nepotism and worse by Julius Malema, young blood firebrand of the EFF, a far left party with huge youth-vote support.  

What is interesting is that Manuel claims that because of Malema's following on Twitter (over 2m people), his reach is 'exponential' and that therefore when he makes a claim, it's automatically believed and acted upon by all who read it.  

We're not sure how Manuel would have reacted had Malema made the slur on television, or in a newspaper interview – however, the question remains the same: is Twitter itself being weaponised here or is it being used to further the ends of democracy?In a country where many young people don't watch television any more or read newspapers, one could argue that what is said on Twitter is of greater influence than any other media form. 

The case goes to court this month, with Manuel offering to donate any compensation to charity if he wins.  

Marvel at Marloth Reserve, Swellendam South Africa
Hope springs eternal at De Hoop

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