A photo shared on Facebook in January 2021 shows people crossing a muddy river while others watch from either side.
Its caption simply reads: “Zim/SA border” – the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. It has been viewed more than 22,000 times.
South Africa’s borders are under “severe pressure” during the Covid-19 crisis, as thousands of people reportedly try to cross into the country. Twenty land borders have been closed under new level 3 lockdown restrictions.
The Limpopo river runs along South Africa’s border with Zimbabwe. But what does the photo show?
Ficksburg border in 2019
Africa Check could find no evidence that the photo was taken at the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Instead, a reverse image search returned results suggesting it was taken in Lesotho.
The earliest version of the photo we could find was posted on Twitter on 22 December 2019.
#LesothoBorder @Julius_S_Malema @tito_mboweni
undocumented Basotho crossing Mohokare to go home for Christmas @HomeAffairsSA Minister Aaron Motsoaledi won’t open Special Permit for new applicants
Lesotho govt still thinks there’s need for a border...
Photo by @MmMoea pic.twitter.com/oNauYXMddQ
— Nthakoana “Queen Mosia” Ngatane (@nthakoana) December 22, 2019
Africa Check could not verify exactly where and when the photo was taken. But all available evidence points to it being near the Ficksburg border post – not on the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
And it was taken more than a year ago, before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta'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.