ANC battles on social networks

WHILE President Jacob Zuma and the ANC try to tighten their grip on the leadership succession debate in the ruling party, members continue to defy them by pursuing the debate on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Supporters of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and ANC head of campaigns Fikile Mbalula's backers are tearing into each other on Facebook.

"Gwede Mantashe is our SG and we love him," said a supporter.

The debate is between leftists, who want Mantashe to retain his position come 2012, and Mbalula's supporters, who want him to replace Mantashe. Mbalula's supporters include ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

"Comrades, there won't be a proper ANC or ANCYL without communist ideology or agenda. See what is happening in the youth league - no communist agenda, no youth development. Who is their vanguard - Floyd (Shibambo)?" wrote Gwede supporter Sibongile Jilaji.

Mbalula's group has been busy too. "Let them try to stop you - on election day they will see the might of the young lions like the DA did during the election campaign - Vutha Umlilo (roaring fire) Mbalula," wrote Themba Vryman.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said yesterday that party leaders should distance themselves from the "ill-disciplined" actions of their supporters.

"Our view is that any public spats, including what is on social networking sites, is not acceptable," Mthembu said.

Another burning topic on the social networks is the titanic tussle for the party leadership of Gauteng involving Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile.