The year 2020 was not without some spicy clapbacks and heated exchanges between politicians on Twitter.
Here are five times the country’s prominent figures had a go at each other on social media:
Herman Mashaba vs Fikile Mbalula on service delivery
Mashaba called out transport minister Fikile Mbalula for lack of maintenance of a railway station in Khayelitsha in Cape Town. Mashaba had been on a national tour with the members of his newly formed party, Action SA, when he took a swipe at Mbalula.
He accused Mbalula of neglecting railway infrastructure.
“This is a shame on all of us in SA but for you, as a responsible minister, I wonder how you feel when you see something like this. This is going to be your legacy, minister. Perfectly good rail infrastructure neglected and left to be destroyed. History will not remember you fondly,” Mashaba tweeted to the minister.
But Mbalula refused to take the blame, saying the Western Cape was the responsibility of “Mashaba’s party, DA”.
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi vs Thuli Madonsela on the Clicks shutdown
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela tweeted herself into hot water in September when she weighed in on the Clicks shutdown by EFF protesters.
The red berets were protesting against a controversial advert published on the Clicks website which labelled African hair as “dry” and “damaged”.
The advert was labelled as discriminatory by scores who also threatened to boycott Clicks. Madonsela attributed the advert to “unconscious bias”. She commended those who spoke against it on social media but condemned the violence and vandalism seen at some stores.
This sparked a heated exchange between her and Ndlozi who told her to “go to hell”.
“Find the nearest hell Thuli … when you get there, you know the cerebral thing to do. We need no approval from your coconut logic. Protest is the constitutionally right thing to do when authorities do not punish racism. Black Lives Matter and we stop racism before it kills Blacks!” charged Ndlozi.
Madonsela responded: “Noted sir. But seriously, shouldn’t it be those that steal from and abuse the poor for personal gain that not only go to hell but get a special place in hell sir?”
Phumzile Van Damme vs Helen Zille on that sea view
After making news headlines for her tweets on apartheid and colonialism, DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille was embroiled in a twar with party MP Phumzile Van Damme.
Responding to a user who asked how Van Damme and other DA MPs deal with Zille and her offensive tweets, Zille said they “chill at home, and enjoy the sea view”.
Her response didn’t sit well with Van Damme, who demanded an explanation from Zille.
Zille responded: “I meant that I believe you, and everyone else in the DA, would be relaxed and unperturbed by the assertion that a capable state, the rule of law, and a culture of accountability are essential for human progress, and that this has nothing to do with race. Surely this is true?”
Van Damme hit back.
“You tweet outrageous things and then back-pedal. Not a single person who read your tweet understood it to mean this. And it is not the first time you have publicly cast aspersions on my character. I saw your call, but since you raised this publicly, I want to discuss it here also,” she wrote, accusing Zille of terrorising some members in the DA.
Helen Zille vs Mmusi Maimane
It’s understandable that politicians sometimes take shots at one another, but waiting for weeks until someone’s birthday to do this is another level of shady.
Zille criticised former DA leader Mmusi Maimane‘s call for schools to remain closed amid Covid-19 to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers. Maimane had raised the matter weeks before his birthday on June 6.
Zille tweeted that Maimane’s call was irresponsible and argued that only children and teachers with pre-existing conditions should stay home. Maimane did not take the shade lying down.
“People who wait for your birthday to cast shade or to say negative things. Let’s be clear we fought to make sure schools are safe to reopen. That was the correct fight. There must be water, working toilets and clean and safe classrooms. That is in fact responsible parenting,” he tweeted in response.
Tito Mboweni vs John Steenhuisen
In May, finance minister Tito Mboweni told DA leader John Steenhuisen to stop being critical of the ruling party and the lockdown. Steenhuisen had earlier called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to end the lockdown, saying it did “more harm than good”.
“You have no right to instruct our president to open the economy. That is disrespectful and unwarranted. Please delete your tweet!! Hayibo! Thixo!” tweeted the minister.
The twar went something like this: