Written in a mix of isiZulu and English, it begins: “Ayikho iCorona Virus abantu kade beyenza iResearch abantu babulawa i5G technology.”
This translates as: “There is no coronavirus, people have done research that people are dying from 5G technology.”
The original post has been widely shared in South Africa as a screenshot, which has then been viewed more than 312,000 times.
“[People] die thinking babulawa iCorona virus kanti Cha i5G iqeda Umoya sife and bazoqhamuka Sebethi people will survive if bejova kanti vaccine,” it continues. This means, roughly: “[People] die thinking they are dying of coronavirus but no it is 5G that is actually killing them and they will come out saying that people will survive if they take a vaccine.”
The rest of the post claims that vaccines are “Satanic” and contain the codes 666 – the Biblical mark of the beast. It also claims South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has agreed to join a Satanic religion that will result in a single global president.
Its claims are similar to those made in an audio clip by African National Congress councillor Sifiso Mngadi from eThekwini metropolitan municipality in KwaZulu-Natal province. In the clip, which surfaced on 4 January 2021, Mngadi says Covid-19 does not exist and that 5G towers are making people sick.
Is there any truth to these rumours? We checked.
‘No strong evidence’ 5G has any affect on health
Africa Check has published a factsheet on 5G technology. In it we explain that 5G, the fifth generation of a wireless mobile technology, “is made up of a set of instructions for devices which tells them how to share information, and the technology that allows them to do so”.
5G is faster than the previous iteration, 4G, and allows more devices to be connected to a network at once. The data is transmitted through radiofrequency waves. These waves release non-ionising radiation – radiation that does not damage the DNA in cells.
There is no strong evidence that the radiofrequency waves from cell phone towers have any effect on health.
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection has said that “no effects of radiofrequency EMFs on the induction or development of cancer have been substantiated” and that there is no evidence of adverse health effects at exposure levels below international guidelines.
Covid-19 recorded in countries with no 5G network
Covid-19 is a viral respiratory infection that was discovered in Wuhan, China in 2019. Coronaviruses are a family of respiratory viruses which include severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).
Covid-19 is spread through inhaling infected droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. It can also be spread through touching a surface with infected droplets and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose.
The World Health Organization has stated: “Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks.”
And Covid-19 has spread in countries that do not have 5G networks. India, Zimbabwe and Colombia, for example, have not yet rolled out 5G networks but have all experienced significant Covid-19 outbreaks.
The Nigerian federal government has previously debunked claims that the country’s outbreak is linked to 5G, saying that no licence has been issued for the deployment of the network in the country.
Eswatini, which had 10,333 confirmed Covid-19 cases on 6 January 2021 and no 5G network, has also debunked claims linking 5G to Covid-19.
Viral messages claiming Covid-19 does not exist and 5G networks are making people sick are baseless and unfounded, and should be ignored.
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