A new political party, CHANGE has called on the government to decisively deal with people spreading fake news.
It says this raises fears among the citizens and if government officials are quiet about it, the country will struggle to fight the spread of coronavirus.
The party has also appealed to people not to spread fake news and also to obey the regulations implemented and stay home.
CHANGE founding member, Lesiba Molokomme, says: “The lockdown extension yesterday is very important. We also take this opportunity to encourage the people in the townships in Gauteng. It seems like people are not taking this serious but remember COVID-19 is serious and it cannot be serious only when it hits your neighbour or only when it hits your loved ones. Let us only go out on essential or good and proper reasons. Going to do shopping and coming back home. Staying home is the best thing the government can do now to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, government has come out to say that anyone that creates or spreads fake news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) is liable for prosecution.
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula slammed what she calls the spreading of fake news on social media relating to the deployment of SANDF members across the country.
There is a lot of misinformation that has circulated about COVID-19 since the emergence of it.
Citizens are urged to verify the information before sharing it.
Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi announced that people who have circulated false news about the pandemic will be charged.
“I want to state here that this fake news tends to be more dangerous sometimes as much as the virus itself because it worries people. Because of this and because we are on possession of the original source of the pictures I’ve instructed my officials to go an lay a charge with the police. This is the first test case of whether fake news can be charged or not. We are going to charge these ones and we have identified at least 3 of them.”
Social analyst and managing director of the Black Box theory Yavi Madurai explains:
Below are a few examples of fake news that have been circulating:
27 March: Loss of soldiers
26 March: Letter for closure of all learning institutions
25 March: Schools opening date might be carried to the 10th of September
24 March: List of critical services required during the imposition of restricted movement during COVID-19
23 March: Restrictions on movement
22 March: Landlords barred from collecting house rent for the next 90 days
21 March: Chinese nationals buying their way into the country
20 March – President Cyril Ramaphosa – helicopters spraying chemicals solutions