African National Congress (ANC) head of elections Fikile Mbalula posted a tweet on Saturday proving that even he isn’t immune to the bulk SMSes South Africans receive during election time from parties canvassing for votes – not even from his own party.
“Dear Fikile, NOW is the time to go out and make your vote count! Regards Cyril Ramaphosa – ANC President,” the SMS read, along with a link to the ANC’s election app and options for how to opt out of further bulk messages.
“Just got this from the President”, Mbalula enthused in his tweet, along with fist pump and heart emojis.
Early on Saturday morning, Mbalula responded to another tweet from an EFF supporter suggesting that Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials “must be sued for disclosing our confidential information to ANC”.
“Why [does the] ANC send SMSes to only people who have registered to vote? We are not going to vote for [ANA] and their Ramarikana as our votes belongs to [EFF]” the tweet said.
“But you have a choice to ignore the message” was Mbalula’s response.
The ANC is not the only party who sends out bulk text messages. In February, The Citizen reported that people had taken to social media to share their frustration with the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) constant “forced” interactions with them, some even going as far as calling it harassment and an outright invasion of privacy.
The DA’s bulk messages caused South Africans further frustrations when it emerged that the party requested that those who want to opt out from receiving their SMSes and phone calls first provide their identity numbers, something law experts said could be a violation of the Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Act.
DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi, however, said the DA’s bulk messages are in full compliance with the law.
In January, the The Citizen published an article explaining how to unsubscribe from DA calls and messages.
(Additional reporting by Chisom Jenniffer Okoye)