In this last post of the #SAElections2019 series, I update South Africa’s top 11 politicians by Twitter followers.
The first post on the subject was published in April 2016 in the lead-up to local municipality elections.
The question I shall be addressing in my 2019 analysis is: what have been the changes in South Africa’s top 11 politicians since 2016?
Table of Contents
The updated South Africa's top 11 politicians
Due to the many stats I plan to share in my updated analysis, I am using the good old spreadsheet and not graphs.
Hoping that addition of colour makes it a bit more interesting?
- 7 politicians were in the 2016’s top 11. 4 politicians, denoted by blue font colour, are new entrants.
- I do not have historical stats for the new entrants.
Hence N/A for 2016 rankings and follower growths.
- The politicians who were in 2016’s top 11 more than doubled their followers and many improved their rankings, sans Helen Zille.
It is not surprising that the Western Cape Province Premier is the only politician who’s ranking declined in the last 3 years.
The average top 11 follower growth is 135%.
- Julius Malema – the EFF leader – was in the top spot in 2016 as well.
- EFF and the ANC are the biggest beneficiaries.
The 2 parties grew the number of politicians from 3 in 2016 to 4 in 2019 each.
The UDM made a new entry.
One DA politician dropped out of the top 11 rankings.
There will be more about politicians who did not make the cut in the next section.
So, who fell out of the top 11 rankings?
- Lindiwe Mazibuko. The former DA Speaker of parliament grew her number of followers by 52% to 441 954.
- Mamphela Ramphela. The Agang political party founder and retired politician grew her followers by 24% to 99 593.
The two former top 11 politicians above have since changed careers.
- Solly Msimanga. The high-ranking DA official and former Tshwane Mayor was in the 8th spot in the 2016 rankings.
He grew his base by a paltry 38% to 149 182 followers, and did not make the cut as a result.
Is it a coincidence that both Solly and Helen Zille grew their followers by such a rate?
- Former President Jacob Zuma. His handle was the official government one.
Msholozi – his clan name – lost ranking when he left office in mid-February of 2018.
Interestingly, he registered his personal handle – @PresJGZuma – in November 2018 and he has been tweeting a storm ever since.
This has lead to rapid growth of followers to current 248 833in only 5 months!
Clearly, Nxamalala – another clan name – is still popular in the Twitterverse.
Want to guess what the former President tweets about, among other things?
Sigh! I owe millions in legal fees… I’ve asked you to assist with that one title deed in order for me to sell that house. I now hear that I have been keeping money belonging to my late brother Gaddafi. Where’s this money because His Majesty knows nothing about it? https://t.co/HputtXav1f— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) April 9, 2019
IN THE PAST 9 YEARS THERE HAS BEEN POLICY CERTAINTY— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) April 14, 2019
Why is the analysis of top 11 rankings important as part of #SAElections2019?
I made this statement in the previous blog of this series, that politics is about numbers.
This is no different on social media.
A social media community enhances a political party’s efforts in the dissemination of messages and promotion of election manifesto.
Thus, the larger the size of community the better, and this includes followers of officials and card-carrying members.
Back to the previous post. One of the findings was that the EFF’s 7 high-ranking officials, including the 4 in the 2019 top 11 table, are actively promoting the #VoteEFF campaign.
The analysis results further showed that the Fighters’ campaign had the highest exposure for the period under review.
It is thanks to the huge combined size of the officials’ followers.
Are there lessons for the ANC and the DA if the 2 parties are to ramp up their respective #VoteANC and #VoteDA campaigns?