03/01/2017 17:02 SAST | Updated 03/01/2017 19:04 SAST

#WeAreANC Turns Into Something The Party Didn't Really Mean

The party started the campaign, but critics on social media bluntly told the party what they thought of it.

REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Protesters call for the removal of President Jacob Zuma outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria in November.

It's the PR campaign that got backfired very badly.

It was meant to be a campaign for unity to support the 105th anniversary of the African National Congress (ANC) at the weekend but by late yesterday furious South Africans had put their own spin on it and turned #WeAreANC into political criticism, with a cartoon of party-and-country President Jacob Zuma urinating on the Constitution getting retweeted hundreds of times.

The ANC plans to celebrate the anniversary on January 8 with a rally at Orlando Stadium in Soweto and the #WeAreANC hashtag - used in last year's local government elections - was intended to support that, with a focus on unity.

But it got all the wrong sort of attention.

By late on Tuesday, #WeAreANC was trending.

There were some attempts to defend the party but the criticism was more popular.

ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa acknowledged the online anger in his own tweets.

Many tweets indicated cynicism about the ANC.

Other parties seized the opportunity to take on the ruling party.

One of the most popular tweets came from Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, with a meme of State Security Minister David Mahlobo contradicting himself.

Some linked the campaign to another spat between the ANC and Democratic Alliance (DA), over Tshwane's DA mayor Solly Msimanga's controversial visit to Taiwan, which the Tshwane ANC called "treason".

And others just raised often-repeated complaints about corruption and waste of state money.

The ANC wasn't immediately available for comment.