A February 2021 Facebook post claims South Africa’s minister of international relations and cooperation, Naledi Pandor, has placed her director general on precautionary suspension, “after the department spent R118 million for a piece of land in New York that did not exist”.
“You just can’t make these up!” it reads, and then questions president Cyril Ramaphosa’s “claims to fight corruption”.
The post includes a screenshot of an article from online news website News24, published 12 February 2021.
The post was flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking system as possibly false. But it’s true.
R118 million paid for ‘dilapidated’ New York building
According to News24, Pandor announced the precautionary suspension of the department’s director general, Kgabo Mahoai, in a short letter to her staff.
This came after a December 2019 investigation that found R118 million had been paid for a piece of land meant to serve as offices for South African diplomats in New York City in the US.
But on inspection, the site was not vacant, but home to an old, unsuitable and dilapidated building.
According to Pandor’s spokesperson, Mahoai was suspended with full pay. Pandor said this was precautionary, and not a judgment.
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
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Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.