President Jacob Zuma is far ahead of Julius Malema and Mmusi Maimane as the most searched for politician online in South Africa, Google data shows.
According to data from the search giant, in the past year, the search term “zuma” scored 40 on Google search trends. That number is indicative of a score relative to other search results, up to a 100 maximum.
Zuma was ahead of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president Julius Malema with the “malema” search term scoring 26 and “maimane” hitting just 6.
Searches for Western Cape Premier Helen Zille yielded a score of 2, while deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa scored 3.
The data showed that South Africans’ searches vacillated as politicians made news headlines.
Searches for Malema peaked in December 2014 with 100 as news of his marriage to Mantwa Matlala catapulted the politician into celebrity status.
The ongoing narrative from Malema against Zuma on the Nkandla scandal also propelled the former in Google searches during February, correlating with Zuma’s chaotic state of the nation (Sona) address.
In an unprecedented move, members of parliament were removed from the chamber after EFF representatives disrupted the Sona, insisting that Zuma answer questions relating to expenditure on his Nkandla homestead.
Meanwhile, searches for Mmusi Maimane peaked in May when the opposition Democratic Alliance elected its first black leader. He made international news headlines and generated a number of search requests, scoring 79 in the second week of May, versus Zuma’s 33 and Malema’s 15.
Zuma’s popularity, though, is not matched by that of the ANC, according to Google data. Searches for the ANC scored 19, well behind that of the DA at 60. Malema’s EFF matched the ANC in terms of its score.
The data seemed to suggest some discrepancy with the high score of the “da” search term with related searches such as “da vinci”, “da gama” and “da capo” included in the list.
Google trends also indicated regional differences in the way locals searched for information on political leaders.
Zuma is a popular search topic in Limpopo (100), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (86) and the Eastern Cape (83), while Malema is popular in Limpopo (100), North West (55) and Gauteng (50).
Maimane tops political searches in Gauteng (100), the Western Cape (99) and KwaZulu-Natal (87). — Fin24