Fake news is making matters worse – David Makhura on violence in Gauteng

2019-09-05 18:36

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has assured residents that police have dealt with ongoing violence in Ekurhuleni, the Joburg CBD and Tshwane and that incidents have subsided reasonably.

“By Tuesday Tshwane was stable but there was still a lot of fake news circulating around,” Makhura said, adding that social media posts spreading false information made matters worse.

The premier held a briefing alongside Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela, and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to discuss incidents of violence, mostly against foreign nationals.

Makhura expressed his concerns about fake news, citing one particular video where an Ekurhuleni metro police officer asked parents to fetch their children from schools because foreign nationals were going to abduct them.

Masina confirmed that the police officer was since suspended.

“MEC Lesufi had to deal with a situation where the schools were disrupted because of fake news about the children being kidnapped and I am glad the mayor will deal with what the city has done with an officer of [the] law who basically is the one who circulated the video that caused lots of panic,” Makhura said.

According to statistics released by police at the briefing, more than 423 arrests were made in the province and 7 deaths could be confirmed since Sunday.

Among those killed was a taxi operator, while two people were burnt in Alex, one protestor was struck with a rock in Hillbrow, one person was shot in Kwa Thema and two others died in Coronationville.

In Thokoza and Kwa Thema, police seized three firearms, two of which were unlicensed.

The firearms were taken from foreign shop owners who were “shooting randomly at a group of people who were roaming around with a possible intention of looting”, according to Mawela.

Police are still monitoring some areas in Katlehong and a hostel in Thembisa where four vehicles were burnt.

The security cluster consisting of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department, SA Police Service and Gauteng Community Safety Officers are working on a 72-hour stabilisation programme.

Queenin Masaubi

Political journalist | City Press

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September 15 2019