Twitter sleuth wonders why Naledi Pandor ‘deleted all her Zuma tweets’

Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor.  (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times /Simphiwe Nkwali)

Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times /Simphiwe Nkwali)

The higher education minister appears to have ‘de-Zuma’d’ her timeline.

In the wake of former president Jacob Zuma announcing his debut on social media on Friday, a Twitter user, Gregory Harington, noticed that Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor apparently deleted all reference to Zuma from her tweets.

It’s possible that the woman Ramaphosa originally proposed as his ANC deputy had simply never tweeted about Zuma in the first place, unlikely as that may be considering she served in his cabinet for nine years.

Harington, an engineer, posted a screenshot of his inability to find a single reference to Zuma from Pandor any more.

Earlier on Friday, the ANC’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, was not enthused about the news that Zuma had joined Twitter.

ALSO READ: Jacob Zuma decides to ‘move with times’, joins social media

He reacted to a tweet in which Mzwanele Manyi advertised Zuma’s Twitter account, writing: “Don’t encourage this.”

Despite Mbalula’s discouragement, Zuma picked up 32,000 followers in just four hours, one of them being Mbalula himself.

The ANC recently made something of a deal with Zuma in which he reportedly agreed to not give a platform to ANC critics outside court when he appears on his corruption trial, and in return the ANC would let him campaign for next year’s elections and not officially distance themselves from him.

Many interpreted it as a sign that the current ANC leadership may have underestimated Zuma’s enduring popularity, despite the widespread criticism he also continues to be subjected to.

Mbalula’s tweet did not immediately make sense to everyone, and he was criticised for it by others.

One person pointed out that Zuma could end up with more followers than Mbalula, who is known for taking such stats very seriously. There was also a general feeling that Zuma might use his platform to “expose” long-held ANC secrets.

Others have been more critical of Zuma, seeing the move as a way to perhaps cash in on public sympathy or perhaps just ask for some actual cash.

One user said it would be interesting how long it took for Zuma to pass Ramaphosa on Twitter.

Editorial correction: An earlier version of this story referred to Pandor in the subtitle line as the science and technology minister, which was her previous portfolio. The current science and technology minister is Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. We apologise for the error. Added, Tuesday, 18 December, at 17.20pm.

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