Despite Jessie’s impressive CV, which features mismanagement to maladministration as well as abuse of state funds, she was promoted to ANC national media spokesperson.
The transcript below from the infamous interview is below. You couldn’t make it up.
Announcer: Political parties are using the internet to communicate with voters but do party leaders take a personal interest in the feedback they get in cyberspace? Sunday Times journalist, Philani Nombembe, put the question to ANC spokesperson, Jessie Duarte. This was her response.
Jesse Duarte: We have Twitter—we have—uh—Facebook… we have—blogs—several blogs of a—various leaders.
Philani Nombembe: Yes
DUARTE: Um—we’ve used every possible you know—also [inaudible] a very clear understanding that we’re—looking at a very narrow market
DUARTE: …because it’s really middle class—uh—-people
DUARTE: who—who do this. So it hasn’t been our base support.
DUARTE: um—but we have invested in it—as much as we can—we’ve also used—uh—SMS’s…
DUARTE: uh—-we’ve got our messages going out on an SMS line…
DUARTE: uh… ja—um—we have WWW dot or—dot ANC dot org dot ZA—which is our link line
DUARTE: —or my anc dot org dot ZA which is another link line—uh—where you can—if you want to you can—it’s an interactive [sic] so can you speak to us—
DUARTE: uh—through those lines. Um—but I would be interested to know—-what—uh—is your interest in—
DUARTE: because—I—if you know people it was anybody but The Times you—you always come from a negative—what’s the actual negative—so that we know wha—I know what to do.
DUARTE: Uh huh
NOMBEMBE: [laughs] [inaudible] like we are trying to find out if it created excitement—like the—Obama campaign… like the—is…
DUARTE: [raising voice]—we did not try to emulate the Obama campaign—
NOMBEMBE: Yeah yeah I understand—
DUARTE: I think that we—I can see the negative now. Uh—we—we decided to use every possible means for communication.
DUARTE: And—and—it—it has indeed created—
DUARTE: an interest in people who have—uh—laptops and—and access to internet—uh—and the capacity in their homes—either in their homes or in their offices to—to engage us on the blogs – you know—so it has— it has had an impact—ja.
DUARTE: Uh—and—and it’s been good because in terms of our manifesto—
DUARTE: we—um—we—we ran a very short—uh— internet campaign and we had about four thousand hits—
NOMBEMBE: ah ha—
DUARTE: —people coming back to us to say these are the issues they’d like to see in the manifesto.
NOMBEMBE: Okay—but—uh some analysts say that when—when leaders actually—uh—uh—on these—uh—on these platforms actually respond to what—um—these supporters or—or—or—or—people who respond to—to—to—to—to these things—they create that emotional kind of link. Um—I just want to find out—
NOMBEMBE: does the ANC president also get to answer—to—to—to—to—to—these things—[inaudible]
DUARTE: He’s got his own blog—yes—you can write to him if you want to—
DUARTE: uh—it’s the—a—ANC—a—President… uh—you—in fact if you go WW [sic] you can link straight from there—to any one of our blogs…
NOMBEMBE: but he can get—[inaudible]
DUARTE: —ja—he does—he does read it… yes he does—he does. He actually—you know he can actually read—you know – contrary to your opinion.
NOMBEMBE: Okay… Okay… uh—Jessie— [inaudible]
DUARTE: —I mean how can you ask me a question like that—you know—does the ANC President actually read
NOMBEMBE: No it’s just—
DUARTE: Good God! Can you guys just get—get a life now
NOMBEMBE: Seriously— I understand what you’re saying but— [inaudible]
DUARTE: Ja you know you must get a life—you—you news people must get a life—you terribly class—classist and—and if you were not black I would say you are racist—but—well I suppose you could be a racist even if you are black like me—but um…
DUARTE: You—you’ve got a very bad attitude—your newspaper has and you know seriously speaking now—this man whether you like it or not—gonna be the next president of the country and actually we—we are not concerned what The Times thinks—we know were The Times is coming from—and where your going to. So yes Mr Zuma can read and yes he does read his blogs.
NOMBEMBE: This is not the idea. What I’m asking is—is the interaction-–the excitement that they—these—uh—these—these platforms create [background noise] amongst they—[inaudible]
DUARTE: No—not necessarily. I think that for us the blogs are more—an information—um—uh—you know—it’s a conversation with voters—
DUARTE: its—its—it is that—and whether creates an emotion—I mean that’s taking it a bit far. I suspect that if you’re a blogger
NOMBEMBE: —Uh huh—
DUARTE: and you have a—a—a group of friends that you—or your Facebook friends that you—you generally—and—and—normally—uh—inter—interact with yes—then you have an emotional link—but in an election campaign it’s very unlikely to have emotional links with—of—uh—twelve to thirteen thousand people.
NOMBEMBE: I understand Jessie—but I hope you understand where I’m coming from—
DUARTE: No—no—listen I know who you work for—look—you guys—there is soap—that will wash a Times journalist in my eyes.
NOMBEMBE: Okay then—well that’s it I guess
DUARTE: Ja—no its not unfortunate—its reality and I think that if you are an South African who wants to see transformation—then you’ve got to join in the fight for it—not become part of the—um—of the—of the—of the third force—you know but you all sound exactly the same so there is not point but—have a good day and thank you for your call.
NOMBEMBE: Okay—just if I need something—can I just give you a ring—just to–uh
DUARTE: excuse me sir—
NOMBEMBE: If I’ve got something for accuracy—can I call you again—to—uh—
DUARTE: Yes you can—except if you insult my president I’ll just cut the phone down on you—I mean—how do I know you can read—your probably one of those people who might be able to be a whizz kid on the—on the—on the internet but maybe you can’t read at all—you know—so I don’t ask you questions like that.
NOMBEMBE: [inaudible] that wasn’t the idea but—it’s not about—
DUARTE: I mean the fact that you’re a journalist doesn’t make you a—a genius [inaudible] you’re just a journalist. Yes you’re welcome to call anytime.