Govt warns South Africans over fake news about xenophobia

South Africa government has warned citizens to ignore fake news concerned pictures and video circulating on social media in a wake of emerged another xenophobia which claims life of two Malawian nationals last week in Durban.

According to News24, Acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director General Phumla Williams said fake images and videos on social media were aimed at “ruining brand South Africa”.

Williams’ comments follow recent attacks on foreign nationals in parts of Durban and in Limpopo.

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned violence against foreign nationals and called on law enforcement agencies to act against those who commit xenophobic crimes.

At the same time, Cabinet ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Bheki Cele led an engagement with heads of diplomatic missions to work out how to better integrate communities in South Africa.

Williams said that the justice crime prevention and security cluster had been “working around the clock to address the issue of attacks against foreign nationals”.

She said there was a fresh wave of misinformation being spread on social media sites.

“Government would like to caution that the spread of misinformation, fake pictures and videos on social media, as well as fake websites, may be fuelling tensions in our communities between South Africans and foreign nationals.

“Certain images and videos that appear on social media are old and unrelated to any of the reported incidents of alleged attacks on foreign nationals over the past few days,” William said.

She said the recent spate of the fake online stories which were fuelling tensions between South Africans and foreign nationals called for greater efforts to raise awareness in society about fake news and fake social media posts.

“Fake news stories are a slanderous attempt against the brand of South Africa, with no interest in respecting the constitution of South Africa.

“We urge South Africa citizens to be vigilant and not spread fake information and images that may give an implication to be attacks on foreign nationals,” added Williams.