Nine arrested for spreading 'fake news'
Speaking during his visit to Secunda in Mpumalanga on Tuesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele urged residents to adhere to the lockdown regulations.
Cele said two teenagers were arrested in eNquthu, northern KwaZulu-Natal, for spreading false reports in a video that has gone viral on social media.
In the video, which has been seen by The Mercury, the two are dressed in police uniforms, standing on the street and stating that people were now allowed to go to buy alcohol. In the same video the pair alleges that the minister of police is dead.
“Those two kids stole their father’s uniform who is a police officer and decided to take a video, spreading fake news. They have been arrested, including those who were sending serious insults, saying that there is nothing called the coronavirus.
“Telling people that this virus does not exist is a serious criminal act when the virus is so serious and has killed so many people,” said Cele.
On Monday, criminal charges were laid against a Cape Town man for disseminating a video in which he claims people risked being infected with Covid-19 by healthcare officials who are conducting door-to-door testing for the virus. Stephen Birch was released on warning and his case was postponed until July 14.
Cele also said the latest statistics showed that crime had decreased during the shutdown, and he attributed the decline to alcohol not being sold.
“I just hope that one day there shall be no liquor. It’s just my wish.
“Well, I don’t run the country. But when you look at the crime statistics, for the fact that shebeens and taverns are closed, that has reduced our crimes.”
Cele said people should stop making requests for liquor stores to be opened for a few hours.
“There are no bottle stores that are going to be opened here until April 16 and anybody that is found with alcohol must be arrested.”
He said more than 17000 people have been arrested since the start of the lockdown period for various violations of the regulations.