An audio clip of ANC spokeswoman Jessie Duarte laying into a Sunday Times journalist, whom she accused of being part of a “third force”, has spread like wildfire on the Internet, writes Harriet Mcela in The Times.

Visitors to The Times website have shared the recording — in which Duarte says “there is no soap that will wash a Times journalist in my eyes” — on Twitter and Facebook.

Almost 13000 people had listened to the four-minute clip by last night. It had elicited 50 comments from browsers.

Opposition parties Cope and the DA have posted a link to the recording on their Twitter accounts.

Last week, journalist Philani Nombembe recorded a call he made to Duarte to ask about the ANC’s online campaigning on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

Duarte immediately went on the defensive, saying: “I would be interested to know what is your interest in [this], because you know if it was anybody but The Times … You always come from a negative [viewpoint]. What is the actual negative so I know what to do?”

Nombembe explained that he was planning a simple story about campaigning in cyberspace, a tactic used in Barack Obama’s US presidential campaign.

When Nombembe asked whether, like Obama, the “ANC president also gets to answer his blog”, Duarte blew her top.

“Yes. You can write to him if you want to … Ja, he does read it. He does, he does. You know he can actually read, contrary to your opinion. I mean, how can you ask me a question like that? You know, does the ANC president actually read? Good God! Can you guys just get a life now,” she said.

“Ja, no, you must get a life. You people must get a life. You’re terribly classist and if you [weren’t] black I would say you were racist. But, well, I suppose you could be racist, even if you [are] a black like me.

“But you’ve got a very bad attitude, your newspaper has, you know. And seriously speaking now, this man, whether you like it or not, is going to be the president of the country. And actually we’re not so concerned about what The Times thinks. We know where you come from and we know where you’re going to. So yes, Mr Zuma can read, and, yes, he does read his blogs.”

Nombembe tried to continue the interview, but Duarte was having none of it.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Click here to listen to the clip.