“This message is 100 per cent accurate. E-tolls were conceived under the watch of an ANC minister, supported by an ANC executive in Gauteng, passed into law by an ANC majority parliament, and signed, sealed and delivered by an ANC president. So what’s the ANC’s problem with the billboard? Is the ANC ashamed of e-tolls all of a sudden?” This was the response from the Gauteng premier candidate for Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane to reports that the ANC was not impressed with the billboards erected near e-toll gantries in Gauteng. The billboards read: “E-tolls. Proudly brought to you by the ANC.”
On Sunday, the DA proudly admitted to being the organisation behind the popular billboards spread along Gauteng highways. Maimane stood firm and confirmed that the DA would welcome any opportunity to defend the expressive billboards at any forum chosen by the ruling party. The ANC did not immediately respond to this challenge from the DA. When the billboards were erected, the spokesperson for the ANC, Khuselwa Sangoni-Khawe, said that the billboards portrayed the ANC in a bad light and the party wanted to find out who had paid to have them erected. However, after the DA’s admission, all Sangoni-Khawe offered was that the DA’s statement had been noted by the ANC.
The message of the billboards quickly spilled over to social networks. By Monday afternoon, the hashtags #ProudlyBroughtByANC and #ANC had made it onto the trends list on Twitter. Some of the tweets made humorous references to past ANC scandals but there was a notable Twitter subscriber who highlighted the best of the ANC.
“Mpundulu ne Mpepho” uses the handle @bukudu and he tweeted #ProudlyBroughtByANC statements for most of the afternoon. One of them was: “#ProudlyBroughtByANC poverty alleviation through social grants”. A previous one read: “#ProudlyBroughtByANC UJ in Soweto and universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape”.
Another supportive user @Sea_Hobo had this to say: “This #ProudlyBroughtByANC trend is childish. Sentletse and his cronies will win the elections on Twitter. We gonna get 2/3 majority #ANC”.
Many other Twitter subscribers were not full of praises for the /ANC. They were quick to poke fun at the ruling party. User @iannelson tweeted: “The Gupta International Airport #ProudlyBroughtByANC”.
As can be expected on social networks, some people found humour in the billboard message. @ThapsenThaps thinks: “Ugly weaves and Gold teeth #ProudlyBroughtByANC” According to @RatanangMalema: “Bafana Bafana poor performance #ProudlyBroughtByANC”
In the midst of the jokes, some subscribers raised rather serious issues. Khume Ramulifho reminisced: “ANC talks about ethics, but can’t tell us how Guptagate landed in SA, real reasons behind Nkandlagate, E-tolls. #ProudlyBroughtByANC” Mr Oosthuizen tweeted: “Where killing Boers become a popular song sung by the youth of the ruling party. #ProudlyBroughtByANC”
It remains to be seen how long this Twitter trend will maintain its popularity. Many wonder how long the ruling party will maintain its popularity.