Western Cape premier Helen Zille has called for an “outcry” over a tweet a journalist claims belongs to Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula.
The tweet in question, though, is probably fake.
The said tweet was in relation to transformation in sport. According to a statement apparently attributed to the minister earlier this year, rugby ticket prices needed to be doubled for “Boers” to reduce their attendance as spectators during rugby matches.
The said tweet came from a Twitter handle that is not verified, and Mbalula’s handle is verified, so it’s probably completely fake (ie, photoshopped) and not a case of Mbalula having tweeted it and then deleted it.
A website at the end of April 2016 that tracks incidents of hate speech against minorities in South Africa took the supposed tweet seriously, but that appeared to be the end of it.
“I am really tired of double standards,” wrote Zille, however, on Thursday, referring to a tweet by sports journalist Neal Collins, who “reminded” South Africa of the minister’s supposed sentiments. Collins suggested that Mbalula had perhaps been on drugs when he’d made the tweet.
“The transformation report will implement all measures. This includes spectator numbers. Too many dumb Boers still attending rugby matches. Doubling ticket prices for them,” said the tweet from “@MbalulaFikile”.
The tweet, however, can’t be tracked on the minister’s timeline and the only time he has ever used the word ‘boer’ in a tweet appears to have been in 2014, and then it was a typo, when he’d evidently meant to write ‘broer’.
Collins added that “I’m no fan of Boere but elected representatives should think before they tweet. Or stay sober.”
Another example of double standards on Twitter. There won't be any outcry about this either….. https://t.co/uBRO7eansw
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) November 24, 2016
Zille responded that there should be an outcry for the minister “as well”.
“Another example of double standards on Twitter. There won’t be any outcry about this either.
“There is, rightly, an outcry when this happens. There should be [one] about this as well. From a Minister!” said the former DA leader.
In her case, we happen to know it really was her doing the tweeting, since it comes from her verified account, which has more than 1 million followers.
On her timeline, the tweet is now accompanied by a message that says it is “unavailable”, suggesting the premier may have tried to delete her comment after realising she may have been in error.
Some of her followers asked her:
link isn't working. Deleted Tweet?
— Kitteh (@ThatDarnKitteh) November 24, 2016
Tweet unavailable… Mmmm…
— Point Blank (@rhipkin) November 24, 2016
Next time, screenshot the tweet and post it like that #tweetdeleted
— Dominuslitus (@Dominus_Litus) November 24, 2016