Eastern Cape deputy mayor 'spread fake news' about Covid-19
Polelo Mohale, the deputy mayor of Alfred Nzo district municipality in Eastern Cape, might find himself in hot water after he allegedly announced on Saturday that Matatiele will have its first Covid-19 funeral.
In terms of the Disaster Management Act, anyone who creates or spread fake news about Covid-19 is liable for prosecution, which might lead to a fine or six months in jail or both. Mohale shared the news while delivering water tanks in Matatiele.
He was being interviewed by local media and the interview was then posted on YouTube.
The video clip starts with a voice-over that says: "While addressing community during the handover of water tanks, Mohale said Matatiele is going to bury its first Covid-19 victim in ward 18."
During the interview Mohale said: "In one of the interviews we conducted we said people of Matatiele are all over the country.
"Of the two people who died at St Augustine Hospital (Durban) one of them is from Matatiele in ward 18. We encourage people to stay indoors because that person's corpse will be accompanied by two or three people. We do not say they are sick but we are saying this thing takes up to 10 days to show in one's body but from the second day one can infect people," he said.
The rest of the interview was about him giving advice on how to stay safe.
The district's mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu said there were currently no cases of the Covid-19 in the district.
"The district is investigating these allegations so as to take an informed decision. I was supposed to have a meeting with him today but he indicated that he is not feeling well," Mehlomakhulu said.
Meanwhile, the family is preparing for the funeral which will be held tomorrow. A family friend said the family was badly affected by the allegation made by Mohale.
"According to the doctor their loved one died of natural causes. The worst part, neighbours stayed away from them as they feared for their lives as well. However they will speak to the media after the burial as they also intend to open a case against the deputy mayor," said a family friend.
Wongekile Potwana, DA chairperson in Alfred Nzo district, said it was shocking for the deputy mayor to spread fake news that could harm the family and create panic in the community.