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Case of identity theft opened against 'Dr' Matthew Lani of TikTok fame

The Gauteng health department has opened a case of impersonating a doctor against Matthew Lani.
The Gauteng health department has opened a case of impersonating a doctor against Matthew Lani.
Image: LinkedIn

The Gauteng health department on Monday opened a case of impersonating a doctor against a man who identifies himself as “Dr Matthew Lani”. 

The department said Lani assumed various pseudo medical roles as he falsely presented himself as an employee of the department.

The case was opened at the Brixton police station. 

“Lani managed to weave his way into the system pretending to be in the employ of Helen Joseph Hospital where he moved around the hospital corridors curating content for social media,” the department said. 

After being questioned about his true identity on social media, Lani alleged the name he used on social media was not his real name. His real name was Sanele Zingelwa. Zingelwa, however, is a registered medical student. He is a second-year medical intern at Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital.

The department said Zingelwa has opened a case of identity fraud at Thembisa police station. 

“On June 16 2022, the department ran a campaign at its facilities as part of Youth Month where many young medical professionals were asked to send in video clips on what it means for them to be born-frees [born after 1994].  

“Lani was one of the participants and this was the only time the department worked with him. At the time there was nothing that raised suspicion that he was not a person in the employ of the facility,” the department said. 

In October last year, Lani recorded a video complaining of nonpayment as a medical intern at Helen Joseph Hospital. The department referred the complaint to the management of the hospital to look into the matter.  

Lani was contacted by the hospital’s CEO and asked to present himself at the facility’s human resource unit to address his complaint.  

Lani then confirmed his matter was receiving attention and deleted the video he posted on TikTok at the time as he believed it was drawing unnecessary attention. 

The department, however, said it also learnt that Lani, using the name “Dr Sanele Zingelwa”, fabricated a story about a large number of people admitted at Helen Joseph Hospital after taking a weight-loss pill.  

“This led the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to investigate the matter in August 2023 and found there [were] no such [cases]. 

“The incident has elevated the urgent need to strengthen access control in our facilities and to improve employee identification processes.”

On Monday, Wits University said Lani did not graduate from its institution, while the Health Professions Council of South Africa said such a person was not a registered health practitioner. 


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