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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

Oscar Mabuyane tells ANC volunteers to be friendly … just until elections (VIDEO)

His office says the remarks were meant as a joke.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane got tongues wagging recently for telling ANC volunteers to answer their inboxes only until elections are over − remarks his office says were meant as a joke.

A video of Mabuyane’s remarks during the meeting in Gqeberha, held last month, was shared online.

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In it, Mabuyane can be heard telling an audience that they must answer their inboxes for now, and after the elections tell the person the relationship has changed.

“For now we must just be kind to everyone, we must have love and be respectful. We shouldn’t be mean to people, this is not the time for being rude to people. It’s election time,” he added.

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He joked that they might even get marriage proposals in the process. “That’s what we want. We are building a nation. We are building stable homes. Let’s do that, I am pleading with you, do not get lost,” he said.

WATCH: Mabuyane’s advice to volunteers

While some found his remarks funny, others criticised them and claimed he encouraged people to work only when votes were on the line and post-elections “insult and ignore” those they serve.

‘Out of context’

Mabuyane claimed the video was “taken out of context deliberately”.

His office told The Citizen the comments were a joke that was being blown out of proportion.

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“On that viral segment, he jokingly said those who are on social media must start being civil even to those who are pestering them in their inboxes. They must greet back and ask them to vote for the ANC.

“It’s part of campaigning in all fairness. People must stop making mountains out of a [molehill]”.