Finance Minister Tito Mboweni took to Twitter on Sunday to urge the media to refrain from calling President Cyril Ramaphosa by his first name.
“This thing of referring to the President by his first name must STOP now. Cyril this Cyril that. Stop it. President Ramaphosa. Get it, media!” he tweeted.
The tweet solicited a number of responses from the Twitterati. @EmperorAxe tweeted at Mboweni: “He is the head of republic not our king, we elected him, we get to call him what we like. I know he’s your boss but we are citizens not servants.”
While Twitter user @mapengo_ntaso replied, “We call you shasha, we call him cyril, we call him DD, we call them whatever we want.”
DD refers to deputy president David Mabuza while Mboweni himself was nicknamed Shasha after he was the subject of a song by South African artist Cassper Nyovest.
@TamaraJantzen tweeted that Ramaphosa was not “royalty” and was “an elected official”.
Several users, however, agreed with Mboweni.
“I think Minister Mboweni is right. To value democracy is to value the institutions which constitute it, and by extension the offices which constitute these institutions. Respect for the office of the presidency is respect for our democratic values,” tweeted @keenanmagiera.
Mboweni then took to Twitter again, “In Kigali we refer to President Kagame NOT him as Paul! Hayibo! Please people!” he tweeted.
Ramaphosa was inaugurated as SA’s President on Saturday.