Mere minutes after the shock announcement that David van Rooyen would be replacing Nhlanhla Nene as South Africa’s new Minister of Finance, a Twitter account popped up on the microblogging site under the new minister’s name.
But the fact that it is a parody was lost on government. On Friday, representatives attempting to distance themselves from it.
“The Minister of Finance, Mr Douglas van Rooyen wishes to place on record that a Twitter account which goes by the handles @douglavanrooyen or @daviddvanrooyen and purporting to be Minister Douglas van Rooyen and using his picture is neither his nor that of his office,” the Ministry said in an emailed statement.
Van Rooyen’s full name is David Douglas Des. When we checked, no accounts named @douglavanrooyen or @douglasvanrooyen exist on Twitter at all.
According to Twitter’s guidelines, if you create a parody account of someone, something or a brand, you have to clearly state that it is a parody account, which the @daviddvanrooyen account does.
“Proud ANC MP. Was Chief Whip on the Standing Committee on Finance, now I’m the Minister! I love soccer, golf, tennis, reading, hunting & parody accounts!” it states.
Even though it’s stated in the account’s biography, that didn’t pass muster with the Ministry, which apparently defines parody differently.
Government said on Friday that it reported the account to Twitter.
“The Ministry of Finance denounces the account as parody as it has clear intent to deceive, confuse and damage the image of the Minister as a person and an institution.”
As of today, the account has tweeted 65 times and has just over 3 000 followers.