A 55-year-old Durbanville man and a 23-year-old man from Tshwane are among the people facing the full force of the law for spreading fake news about the Covid-19 crisis.
The 55-year-old was arrested for allegedly circulating a misleading video clip on Covid-19 test kits. The suspect appeared before a Western Cape court on Tuesday.
In a statement, government said the suspect has been charged in terms of the Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c)m], which prohibits the publication of information through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address Covid-19.
Government reiterated that all testing kits and other equipment used by the Department of Health and the relevant medical institutions are of high standard, which has been approved by the South African Bureau of Standards.
“Disinformation is unacceptable and dangerous to our society. Such acts should be condemned by all South Africans, who remain committed to fighting the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. All of us have a responsibility to desist from peddling fake news."
Meanwhile, in Pretoria, South African Police Services (Saps) have arrested a 23-year-old man in Pretoria for allegedly contravening the Act
On 27 March 2020 little snippets of a video, in which two young men were seen travelling around Pretoria with one of them continuously swearing, mocking efforts to curb the Covid-19 virus and bragging they do not comply with laws put in place to contain the virus, went viral.
In one of the snippets, one man appears to be standing in front of a police station and swearing about the virus.
The video was investigated and the suspect was traced and found inside a residential complex in the Lyttelton policing area.
“The arrest of this suspect - as well as at least six other suspects that have been arrested for creating such videos and posting fake news - should be a reminder that the security forces enforcing the regulations to contain the Covid-19 virus have the capacity and capability to identify those responsible for such transgressions, however long it may take,” Saps said in a statement.