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Three-storey building collapses during South Africa’s #CapeStorm? No, video shot in Ghana

IN SHORT: After South Africa’s Western Cape was hit by one of the worst storms in the province’s history, videos of the devastation began trending on social media under the hashtag #CapeStorm. One tweet shows a large building suddenly collapsing. But it was filmed in the west African country of Ghana.

A massive storm battered South Africa’s coastal city of Cape Town and surrounding towns in late September 2023. The heavy downpours led to rivers breaking their banks, waves crashing over roads and widespread flooding. At least 11 people died.

The region is in the Western Cape province, whose government activated its disaster management centre. South Africa’s weather service declared a level 9 orange warning, the highest yet for the province.

Photos and videos of the storm’s wreckage soon flooded X (formerly Twitter). The hashtag  #CapeStorm was the platform’s top trend in South Africa for days.

One video, posted on 25 September, shows a three-storey building suddenly collapsing into a cloud of dust. It’s been viewed on X more than 16,000 times.

The caption reads: “#WATCH : Building collapsed in South Africa due to Cape Storm #WesternCape #StormCape #CapeTown #CapeStorm #SouthAfrica #latest #BuildingCollapse.” 

It was posted by upuknews, a verified X account based in India that describes itself as being “all about Latest News, political stories, entertainment news, sports news”.

But several X users quickly cast doubt on the video’s origins.

“LIES LIES LIES!!! That happened in Accra,” one commented. Accra is the capital of Ghana, a small coastal country in West Africa.

Several others said the video was shot in Nigeria.

The video has also found its way onto Facebook with a similar caption.

So did the building really collapse in the Western Cape as a result of the devastating storm?

VideoSouthAfrica_False

Ghana’s engineering council probing collapse

Africa Check took a screenshot of the first frame of the video and searched for its source on Google Lens.

This led us to a report on Graphic Online, a website based in Ghana.

“This 3-storey building collapsed at Ofankor in Accra Saturday morning [VIDEO],” the article’s headline reads. It’s dated 23 September and includes the video posted on X.

According to the article, the house’s pillars started sinking into the ground after heavy rains. It collapsed 30 minutes later.

“A Police Situational Report (SITREP) seen by Graphic Online confirming the incident said at about 11.20 GMT on Saturday, September 23, 2023, the police received information to the effect that a storey building had collapsed at Ofankor poultry farm in Accra,” the report reads.

Ofankor is in Taifa, a town in the greater Accra region.

Daily Graphic also posted its report – and the video – on Facebook.

On 25 September, the Accra-based news site CNR Citi Newsroom reported that the Ghana government’s engineering council was investigating the cause of the building’s collapse.

“The three-storey building which was under construction behind Ofankor Market near Asofan caved in over the weekend,” the article reads.

The following day the council issued a preliminary statement on its investigation, which was widely covered by Ghana’s news media.

Multiple social media posts also identify the video’s location as being Ofankor, Accra, Ghana, as can be seen here, here, here, here and here.

The building did not collapse in South Africa’s Western Cape.

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