Cape Town - Sit down, Twitter warriors: Judge Thokozile Masipa was not petrol bombed.
An article doing the rounds on social media has claimed that Judge Masipa, who presided over the trial and sentencing of Oscar Pistorius, was petrol bombed on her way home on Wednesday.
But police and ER24 say they have no record of the incident.
The source of the hoax is website MzansiLive.co.za, which wrote:
“Wednesday was a tragedy day for the judge who presided over the much awaited Oscar Pistorius case. Close sources reveal that Judge Masipa’s car was petrol bombed on her way home on Wednesday evening adjacent to her main gate.”
Gauteng police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said he was not aware of any petrol bombing incident in the Pretoria area yesterday.
ER24 spokeswoman Chitra Bodasing was mentioned in the article, apparently brushing off claims that paramedics took a long time to respond to the attack.
However, Bodasing told the Cape Argus that she was never contacted by Mzansi Live about the story.
“We can confirm that none of us are aware of such an incident,” Bodasing said. “I did not issue any statement to Mzansi Live regarding the incident they are referring to.”
Spokesman for the Judiciary Nathi Mncube knew of the petrol bombing claim, but said his office would only release a statement about it later on Thursday.
In addition to the text, the article used a photograph of a white car on fire. Searching this image online reveals that it was first published by the South China Morning Post on 2 June, in relation to a rush hour traffic accident in Tsuen Wen.
The MzansiLive article went on to quote an anonymous family member who was allegedly an eyewitness to Masipa’s “attack”.
“She is hospitalized but stable; she succumbed to abdomen burns and suffocation. This is tragedy; we all believe that it has something to do with the Pistorius case. As a family we have the Good Samaritan to thank, who was quick enough to pull her out of the car, she could have been burnt to death,” the family member was quoted as saying.
“Two petrol bombs were thrown at Judge Masipa’s car, one hit her front and the other was thrown inside the car via an open passenger window. I was quick to react when I saw flames and smoke, though I was a distance, I managed to reach her on time, she had already passed out. The offenders disappeared from the scene in a black Toyota SUV,” said the anonymous family member eyewitness.
Efforts have been made to contact MzansiLive for comment, but we have yet to receive a response.