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South African police stations to close at 6pm to avoid criminals? No, fake quote from old fake news site

Kliek hier om hierdie verslag in Afrikaans te lees. Click here to read this report in Afrikaans.

A screenshot of an article by the now-defunct fake news site News Updates SA claims a senior South African police officer wants police stations to close at 6pm to keep them safe from criminals. 

“We want police stations to close at six o'clock in the evening for security reasons. Criminals in this country has become too dangerous,” the text reads, attributing the statement to a “Captain Derick Sithole”.

The graphic was posted on the Facebook page News24/7Nuus on 31 August 2019 with the comment, in Afrikaans: “Kan net glimlag! Ja meneer noukan Ons rustiger slaap of nie!” This roughly translates as: “Yes, sir, we can now sleep more peacefully – or not!”


‘Blatantly fake articles’

In October 2018, the South African site News24 exposed the person behind News Updates SA as a 30-year-old man living in Mpumalanga province. It found the website published “blatantly fake articles” with clickbait headlines. 

Many of the articles put absurd statements in the mouths of politicians and government officials.

One had South Africa’s agriculture minister blaming white people for cold weather. Another claimed the transport minister had advised motorists to turn off their engines while driving to save fuel. 

Shock, incredulity, outrage

The fake quote attributed to the fictitious “Captain Derick Sithole” was published online in July 2018. It was an immediate hit.

By News24’s count, the original Facebook post linking to the article was shared more than 13,000 times. It also had over 1,500 comments from Facebook users expressing “shock, incredulity and outrage”.

The quote was also retweeted by Martin Bosma, a Dutch politician and former journalist. According to News24, Bosma deleted his retweet after its inaccuracy was pointed out to him by investigative journalist and fact-checker Peter Burger

Burger pointed out that the full “Sithole” quote was copied from a statement made by Captain Eddie Hall in 2017. News Updates SA tacked the sentence about police stations closing at 6pm on the end of the real quote. Burger included two screenshots in his tweet, comparing the two statements. 

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie later confirmed that the article was false. 

“The comment made regarding the closing of police stations is false and malicious propaganda by fake newsmakers,” News24 quoted Pojie as saying.

“The satellite [police stations] do close at 18:00 as a contact point.  However, services are rendered from… [the South African Police Service] on a 24-hour basis. The closing of the contact point do not impede on service delivery at all.” – Africa Check

Gaan Suid-Afrikaanse polisiestasies 6nm toemaak om misdadigers te vermy? Nee, dis ʼn vals aanhaling van ʼn ou valsnuus-webwerf

ʼn Skermskoot van ʼn artikel deur die nie-meer-bestaande valsnuus-webwerf News Updates SA beweer dat ʼn senior Suid-Afrikaanse polisiebeampte wil hê polisiestasies moet om 6nm toemaak om hulle veilig te hou teen misdadigers.

Dit lees: “Ons wil hê dat polisiestasies om sekuriteitsredes saans sesuur moet toemaak. Misdadigers in hierdie land het te gevaarlik geword,” en dit is glo “kaptein Derick Sithole” wat so sê.

Die skermgreep is op 31 Augustus 2019 op die Facebook-blad News24/7Nuus geplaas met die kommentaar: “Kan net glimlag! Ja meneer noukan Ons rustiger slaap of nie!”

‘Blatant vals’

In Oktober 2018 het die Suid-Afrikaanse webwerf News24 die persoon agter News Updates SA geïdentifiseer as ʼn 30-jarige man wat in die Mpumalanga-provinsie woon. Hulle het vasgestel dat die webtuiste “blatant vals artikels” met kliek-aas-opskrifte geplaas het.

Baie van die artikels het absurde stellings aan politici en regeringsamptenare toegedig.

In een daarvan het Suid-Afrika se minister van landbou witmense die skuld gegee vir koue weer. In nog een het die minister van vervoer motoriste aangesê om hul enjins af te skakel terwyl hulle bestuur om brandstof te bespaar.

Skok, ongeloof, woede

Die vals aanhaling wat aan die fiktiewe “kaptein Derick Sithole” toegedig is, is in Julie 2018 gepubliseer. Dit was onmiddellik ʼn treffer.

Volgens News24 is die oorspronklike Facebook-plasing wat na die artikel deurgekliek het, meer as 13,000 keer gedeel. Dit het ook meer as 1,500 kommentare deur Facebook-gebruikers uitgelok wat hul “skok, ongeloof en woede” uitgespreek het.

Martin Bosma, ʼn Hollandse politikus en voormalige joernalis, het die aanhaling hertwiet. Volgens News24 het Bosma sy hertwiet uitgevee nadat Peter Burger, ʼn ondersoekende joernalis en feite-verifieerder, hom daarop gewys het.

Burger het daarop gewys dat die “Sithole”-aanhaling in werklikheid in 2017 deur kapt. Eddie Hall gemaak is. News Updates SA het die sin oor die polisiestasies wat om 6nm sluit by die werklike aanhaling aangelas. Burger het twee skermskote by sy twiet ingesluit, wat die twee stellings met mekaar vergelyk.

Polisiewoordvoerder kapt. Malcolm Pojie het later bevestig dat die artikel vals is.

Volgens News24 het Pojie gesê: “Die kommentaar oor die toemaak van polisiestasies is vals en kwaadwillige propaganda van die vervaardigers van vals nuus.

“Die satelliet-[polisiestasies] sluit wel om 18:00 as ʼn kontakpunt. Maar dienste deur ... [die Suid-Afrikaans Polisiediens] word op ʼn 24 uur-grondslag gelewer. Die toemaak van die kontakpunt het hoegenaamd geen uitwerking op dienslewering nie.” – Africa Check

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