DA and EFF Growing Faster than the ANC on Social Networks

By Staff Writer    16-Nov-2013 20:30 UTC+02:00 21

electionsThe 2014 general elections are a few months away and political parties that will be contesting have started campaigning. The increase in the number of people who have access to the internet over the past few years has made social networks valuable tools for politicians to conduct their campaigns.

According to statistics, over 12 million South Africans have access to the internet. Recent reports revealed that 9.4 million and 5.5 million South Africans use Facebook and Twitter respectively. Out of curiosity, we conducted a survey to see which South African political parties are the most popular on the two major social networks. Although millions of voters do not use Facebook and Twitter, it is possible to measure the overall popularity of each political party from a small sample of internet users and foresee which parties are most likely to dominate the elections next year.

In September 2013, Julius Malema’s EFF was reported to be the fastest growing political party in South Africa. It had the highest number of Facebook Likes (46 269) and its then three-month-old Twitter page had 23 578 followers. In the current survey we used September numbers as baseline to calculate the growth rate of the top six political parties on Facebook and Twitter. Although EFF still has the highest number of Facebook Likes, according to the numbers, from September to November, the fastest growing political party appears to be the Democratic Alliance, followed by EFF (see Table 1 and Table 2 below).


From September to November, 11 365 new people liked the DA’s Facebook page, taking the total number of likes from 30 878 to 42 243, a growth rate of 36.81%. EFF’s page grew at a rate of 22.69%. It had 10 500 new likes over the past two months. Although the DA’s page grew at a faster rate than that of EFF, EFF is still the most popular political party on Facebook, with more than 56 769 likes. The ANC and Agang SA had 3 967 and 3 862 new likes respectively. They currently have 30 343 and 29 158 likes. Their growth rate was 15.05% and 15.27% respectively. Facebook likes and Twitter followers for COPE and IFP are too few. We cannot use them to draw statistically reliable conclusions. Therefore, they were excluded from the analysis.


Table 1. The growth rate of South African Political Parties on Facebook

Party Number of Likes New Likes Growth Rate (%)
September November
EFF 46 269 56 769 10 500 22.69
DA 30 878 42 243 11 365 36.81
ANC 26 376 30 343 3 967 15.04
Agang SA 25 296 29 158 3 862 15.27
COPE 1 892 2056 164 8.67 (excluded)
IFP 394 482 8 22.36 (excluded)


On Twitter, the ANC dominates. It has 81 043 followers. It had 10 418 new followers from September to November. The DA is at the second position with 44 330 followers. At position 3 is Agang SA, which has 36 673 followers. EFF is at the fourth position with 28 090 followers. The DA grew at a rate of 24.99%, followed by EFF, whose growth rate was 19.14%. The growth rates of the ANC and Agang SA were 14.75% and 11.72% respectively.

Table 2. The growth rate of South African Political Parties on Twitter

Party Followers New Followers Growth Rate (%)
September November
ANC 70 625 81 043 10 418 14.75
DA 35 468 44 330 8 862 24.99
Agang SA 32 827 36 673 3 846 11.72
EFF 23 578 28 090 4 512 19.14
COPE 818 991 173 21.15 (excluded)
IFP 146 179 33 22.60 (excluded)

Clearly, opposition parties, particularly the DA and EFF are gaining popularity at a faster rate than the governing party (ANC). EFF and Agang SA, which were founded this year, have become significantly more popular than COPE and IFP. If the numbers of votes next year follow the same pattern that we see on social networks, the ANC will lose a large proportion of votes to the DA, EFF and Agang SA. COPE and IFP will no longer be part of the big four political parties of South Africa.

Nonetheless, since some political parties target highly disadvantaged areas where people have no access to the internet, and some of the users of social networks may not be registered to vote, it is hard to accurately predict the outcomes of next year’s elections. The numbers of votes may deviate from our expectations. However, it is also possible for the above pattern to hold true among those who are registered to vote.


  1. Tman says:

    Interesting. I think the Twitter results are more realistic.

  2. Lucky says:

    EFF is very new so I think it’s the fastest growing party. Viva EFF viva!

  3. moloko hans sekgoaila says:

    eff is the only party can make poor people and rich people to be egual

  4. Daniela says:

    What most of south african people dont understand is people will never be equal.We living in Capitalism and not in a Communist Country.I came from a Comunist Country because the Communism distroyed the Country and people.People became more poore and no jobs.Communism will bring down the country and people will become more poore

    • haveitoldulately says:

      why not a socialist democracy for south africa? granted, it will take a party other than ANC and DA to get it right, but capitalism only ever benefits a few at the expense of the majority. unless you want to build pie in the sky ala the USA and look where it’s got them

      • Sam van den Berg says:

        Advanced European countries are doing well on a combination of social democracy and free-market liberalism. Communism and pure Capitalism are not so very different — both are (were) controlled by a very small predatory and greedy ‘elite’. Take national health services — Canada (liberal democracy) has one of the best free health services in the world; just across the border, capitalist United States has the very worst system in the civilised world. Same goes for social welfare in general. The people of Denmark have been found to be the happiest on earth. Denmark is a social democracy with a first-rate welfare system, but also a free-market economy. The key to Denmark’s success is that it has for a very long time been governed by coalitions that had to make compromises, that it has a homogeneous population, and that it has a long tradition of democracy and tolerance. I think the same goes for most of the countries of North-Western Europe. It takes many decades of civilised behaviour to establish a real democracy. We’ve already wasted two decades by allowing greedy, dishonest and rather stupid mamparas to run (ruin) the country.

  5. haveitoldulately says:

    it’s common practice to buy or otherwise inflate ‘likes’ in order to appear popular on social media. add to that the fact that the ‘likes’ are in all likelihood not representative of registered voters and you end up with an ‘analysis’ that is completely and utterly meaningless!

    that said, i do believe that the EFF is going to grow in leaps and bounds between now and the 2014 elections.

    • Liz says:

      1. I doubt that South African politicians have the time to buy Facebook likes. 2. It doesn’t matter that some of the Facebook users are not registered to vote. There is something called proportionality.

      • haveitoldulately says:

        1. don’t know where you’ve been hiding, but there’s a roaring business that pays people to ‘like’ and post positive comments on social media platforms – usually promoting products, but why not politicians, too? some even PAY advertising agencies to promote them

        2. of course it matters if they’re registered voters or not; what does it help if half your ‘likes’ are sitting on the other side of the world??? or trolls for that matter?

        3. proportionality? huh? in this context ‘proportionality’ doesn’t apply. refer stats 101

        • Liz says:

          Try to reread my comment. Perhaps one day you will understand it. Bye.

        • Sam van den Berg says:

          Unlikely that the EFF has had enough time or been organised enough to get down to buying ‘likes’ on social media — and even if they have, the ANC is surely organised enough to buy ‘dislikes’ for their opponents. If the number of dislikes was significant it would probably have been mentioned in the report? At any rate, the impact of social media elsewhere in the world has become a significant factor in the last year or two, and bearing in mind the number of people with internet access, it’s likely to be the case here too. In Italy the social media nearly got a comedian elected. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to see the comedians unelected? No need to fear the EFF — it will hurt the ANC and then get stuck like almost all the far-Left parties in the world. After all, as our beloved and revered President (pbuh) informed us, South Africa is not Africa.,

  6. haveitoldulately says:

    it’s common practice to buy or otherwise inflate ‘likes’ in order to appear popular on social media. add to that the fact that the ‘likes’ are in all likelihood not representative of registered voters and you end up with an ‘analysis’ that is completely and utterly meaningless!that said, i do believe that the EFF is going to grow in leaps and bounds between now and the 2014 elections.

  7. Masha jim says:

    Eff will bring back our lost hope. Stay intouch.

  8. Tommy Thomson says:

    These stats indicate one thing and that is in this election it is going to be a choice between EFF and DA. Idioligical choice is nationalize mines, banks and land grabs and socialism on the one hand, or a non racial South Africa, equal opportunity society, growing the economy at 8%, free enterprise system, job creation, wealth redistribution via lower taxes, a definite better tomorrow than today.

  9. Sam van den Berg says:

    One difference this time round will be that communities traditionally with little or no access to the media and who have mostly been in the dark about the ANC and Zuma’s misdeeds, will probably have family members, friends, friends of friends, friends of their children at school and so on, passing on tidbits picket up from the social media. These tidbits will then enter the gossip mill where things will get exaggerated and amplified. …. It probably requires only about three degrees of difference (from A to B to C) for information to saturate the electorate by the time the elections come round. It will be interesting.

  10. Tinyiko Moses Ngomani says:

    Eff is coming with action not promise forward eff foward malima you are our next president

  11. Sharks says:

    We like the pages not because we like the party but because we just want to be entertained.I liked DA and EFF but will not vote for them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I dnt hate de name ANC,i hate de current leadershp of zuma,his ministers and ada opposition parties,is de anc scared of zuma?yes dey are,dey dnt care abt sa.de zanc r de reason y we have cope,udm,eff n now united congress.1994 every1 voted 4 de anc n dey won all 9 provinces,but nw i c trouble bcos dey r going to share all their suppoters wit all de above mentioned parties,luk wat is happening in their,members r resigning y?i cant mention their bby cosatu.divisions n loop holes,dis is all bcos of zuma.dis is de worst leadershp ever.no matter what,julias sello malema is going 2 rule dis country,hatred or not.eff is growing fast.truth b told

  13. peter says:

    Thts great

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