Julius Malema axed from ANCYL, Twitter reacts

Julius Malema, upstart leader of South Africa’s ANC Youth League (ANCYL) today faced the music for his multiple political indiscretions. Of the rulings, one stands out and Twitter was there to capture the moment.

Malema, and a number of his cohorts from the ANCYL leadership, had been facing charges before an ANC disciplinary committee. The charges ranged from ill-discipline to bringing the ANC, as a whole, into disrepute.

As social media analytic tool Topsy.com shows, mentions of Malema dramatically shot up as the ruling came in.

By midday, all of the top 10 Trending Topics in South Africa were related to the ruling but it’s yet to make a serious dent worldwide.

Closely following the ruling were some of the most prominent journalists on Twitter. Here’s what they had to say:

Chris Roper, Mail & Guardian Online editor.

While South Africans celebrated the ruling, Ferial Haffajee, City Press editor, presented the side of the ANC.

Gus Silber made a joke at the expanse of Floyd Shivambu, the now effectively axed ANCYL spokesperson who had been infamous for his foul language when speaking with journalists.

South African news reporter Lester Kiewit mused on the thoughts of former SA president Thabo Mbeki.

Mandy Wiener, Eyewitness news reporter, praised the ANC’s handling of the disciplinary hearing.

The ANCYL has previously called for the shutdown of Twitter, following a spree of fake Malema accounts popping up on the social network. The ANCYL had asked authorities to “closer (sic) Twitter if its administrators are not able to administer reports for violation of basic human rights and integrity”.

Whilst this is certainly one of the biggest new events to be followed by the South African Twitter-sphere, the largest was, without doubt, the reprehensible Mandela death-hoax which went worldwide and was picked up by the mainstream media.

Malema, has vowed to appeal the verdict. He has 14 days to do so. It has been reported that he said that the gloves were off and that it was time to confront and fight the enemy.

Given the amount of attention Malema has generated worldwide it is surprising that the story is yet to trend worldwide. A full summary of Malema’s ruling can be found here.

Measuring the online impact

Brandseye, a leading South African ORM tool, released figures surrounding the online buzz of the verdict. “It has a 63% larger following than that of the State of the Nation Address garnered in an entire evening. This illustrates how strong the message has grown in such a short space of time,” says Brandseye.

Politician Derek Hanekom and local radio and TV personality Gareth Cliff were both highly influential on Facebook sharing status updates on the verdict. Tim Shier, Brandseye managing director said, “The conversation’s volume is expected to be particularly volatile throughout the day as consumers debate and interpret the findings by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee.”



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