A Cape Town man is expected to appear in court after he posted a video to Facebook telling people not to allow themselves to be tested for the coronavirus by government workers.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo told the Pretoria Moot Rekord that the man who posted the video would appear in court today.
“He was not arrested, but he handed himself over to the Parow police station on Monday. He was warned and is expected to appear in court on Tuesday,” Naidoo told the publication.
The man reportedly posted the video on Sunday. In it, he claims there is a possibility that swabs used to take samples from your nose and mouth are contaminated with the virus.
“The South African government tomorrow is sending 10,000 people door-to-door with the police to test you for the disease known as COVID-19,” the man reportedly said.
“Do not under any circumstances allow them to test you.”
In addition to his video, the man’s Facebook timeline includes references to conspiracies involving 5G and COVID-19.
These include statements such as “COVID-19 is the disease caused by 5G cell towers”, and calls to burn down 5G cell towers.
On Monday morning, the DA laid criminal charges against the man under South Africa’s disaster management regulations for COVID-19.
“Laying these criminal charges is meant to send a strong message to South Africans that the spreading of fake news will not be tolerated,” said DA shadow minister of health Siviwe Gwarube.
“It is not true that community health workers will use swabs or draw blood. Their work is to screen those South Africans who may be showing symptoms and to bring the services closer to where they are.”
After President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster, the Disaster Management Act Regulations of 2020 criminalized the publishing and spreading of false information about COVID-19 and the coronavirus that causes it.
The Magistrates Court Judiciary for the Gauteng administrative region also recently released a list of admission of guilt fines for offences under the Disaster Management Act Regulations.
For publishing a statement intending to deceive people about any measure taken by the government to address COVID-19, the admission of guilt fine is R5,000.
As per the regulations, offenders may face a fine and imprisonment.