Government welcomes arrest of Cape man on fake news charges
Johannesburg - The South African government has welcomed the arrest of estate agent Stephen Birch, who appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court for allegedly spreading fake news on Tuesday.
A video of Birch allegedly claiming test kits were contaminated with the Covid-19 virus went viral recently.
The Cape Times reported on Tuesday that the 54-year-old man had been charged for allegedly contravening Regulation 11 (5) under the Disaster Management Act.
The case against Birch has been postponed to July 14.
Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said disinformation was unacceptable and dangerous to society and said such acts should be condemned.
“Government Communications (GCIS) in collaboration with key leading social media platforms continues to work towards curbing disinformation practices within our public information systems.
“We call on communities to work with government and report any person who misleads the public with wrong information. Help combat Covid-19 and combat fake information and misinformation by reporting to Real411.org,” she said.
Williams said test kits and other equipment used by the health department were of high standards and were approved by the South African Bureau of Standards.