An audio clip of ANC spokeswoman Jessie Duarte laying into a Sunday Times journalist, whom she accused of being part of a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthird forceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, has spread like wildfire on the Internet, writes Harriet Mcela in The Times.
Visitors to The Times website have shared the recording ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â in which Duarte says ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthere is no soap that will wash a Times journalist in my eyesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â 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 ANCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s online campaigning on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
Duarte immediately went on the defensive, saying: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI would be interested to know what is your interest in [this], because you know if it was anybody but The Times ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ You always come from a negative [viewpoint]. What is the actual negative so I know what to do?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Nombembe explained that he was planning a simple story about campaigning in cyberspace, a tactic used in Barack ObamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s US presidential campaign.
When Nombembe asked whether, like Obama, the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œANC president also gets to answer his blogÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, Duarte blew her top.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œYes. You can write to him if you want to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ 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,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she said.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œJa, no, you must get a life. You people must get a life. YouÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re terribly classist and if you [werenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t] black I would say you were racist. But, well, I suppose you could be racist, even if you [are] a black like me.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBut youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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 weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re not so concerned about what The Times thinks. We know where you come from and we know where youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re going to. So yes, Mr Zuma can read, and, yes, he does read his blogs.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Nombembe tried to continue the interview, but Duarte was having none of it.