Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has cautioned against the spread of fake news regarding Covid-19, which he said is designed to elicit fear and confusion among members of the public.
More especially around the virus as well as parents of children who are set to return to school.
“Covid-19 is a serious pandemic which should be treated as such; however, using false information that creates panic, or which is designed to take advantage of vulnerable citizens, is irresponsible and does not help in the fight against this virus.”
He said information from known and unknown sources should also be checked for its validity before sharing on social media.
Official government channels such as the provincial and national government websites and social media accounts, as well as trusted news websites for information, can be used to find accurate information pertaining to the pandemic.
Fake news can be reported via WhatsApp on 067 966 4015.
Back in March, when President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the coronavirus outbreak a national disaster, one of the regulations he announced included the criminalisation of dissemination of fake news about Covid-19.
The regulations state that:
any person who publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person about:
Covid-19 infection status of any person; or
Any measure taken by the government to address Covid-19, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Which means that simply sending on a fake report or sharing a fake news Facebook or Twitter post puts you in danger of being prosecuted.