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Govt: Don't be tricked by fake social media accounts

2014-05-27 05:00
Nhlanhla Nene
The newly appointed Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene swears in during the new Cabinet inauguration ceremony in Pretoria. (Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

Johannesburg - People following developments in government via social media should do so through authentic accounts linked to departments' websites, an official said on Monday.

"Government communications is aware that a number of fake accounts have emerged following President Jacob Zuma's announcement of the new national executive," government spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement.

"Government wishes to clarify that people wanting to follow developments around the new Cabinet on social media are advised to access Twitter and Facebook accounts via the respective departmental websites."

The official Twitter and Facebook accounts were placed and linked to official websites of different government departments, she said.

Earlier, the Treasury warned of a fake Twitter account claiming to be that of newly appointed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

"Minister Nene does not have a twitter account," spokesperson Zwikhodo Netshituni said in a statement on Monday.

"...The twitter account with a handle @NhlanhlaNeneZA is counterfeit."

The account with over 3 000 followers has tweeted 20 times and has a picture of Nene on its profile.

The last tweet read: "They also said that @Julius_S_Malema is a fake account. When ever someone seems to not follow the status quo, they try to silence him."

Another tweet read: "We're a great nation with an abundance of resources. Imagine if we, civil servants, did as paid to do -- we'd be so far ahead as a country."

Another said: "My brains did not fallout when I fell off that chair. I won't collapse the SA economy. Have faith in me, fellow South Africans."

In 2008, a video clip of a chair breaking under Nene, parliament's then finance committee chairman, during a television interview made world news.

The clip was viewed over 279 000 times on YouTube and his fall made it to the BBC and the Telegraph's websites. The video also did the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, and was the subject of debate on radio talk shows.

Nene was being filmed in an interview on SABC2's View from the House when a cracking sound was heard, but he continued talking.

This was followed by another cracking sound and he fell to the floor, scrabbling at the table briefly, as the chair collapsed under him.

Williams said the fake accounts were established under the pretext of being official accounts using the South African Coat of Arms and names of appointed ministers.

"Government calls on those establishing these accounts to desist from impersonating government leaders and using these valuable communication platforms to try to confuse the people of South Africa," she said.

- SAPA
Read more on: twitter  |  facebook  |  nhlanhla nene  |  jacob zuma  |  julius malema  |  social networks  |  elections 2014

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