That was the warning by government through the Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Pinky Kekana. “Ministry of Communications has noted with great concern the proliferation on various social media platforms, an image of a minor who is alleged to have contracted a mouth disease after consuming “counterfeit” or illicit perishables goods procured from stores owned by foreign nationals. Circulating the image is not only discriminatory but affects the dignity of the minor” said Kekana.
She was referring to a Facebook post that was circulating last week, which was proved to be untrue, unverified and unauthenticated. Posting of images of under aged children without the explicit permission of the parents is illegal. The internet has the potential to be used for great good but can also cause terrible harm, especially with the increase in human trafficking, which has become more organised on a global level.
The picture seems to be distorting reality as per government’s investigation and is actually not even taken in South Africa. The image is posted at a time when people have taken issue with expired goods apparently being sold by foreign nationals.
According to the Department of Communications, the image is old and “there is a concerted effort to spread incorrect, harmful content in order to stoke xenophobic attitudes within our communities.” Communities can report any suspicious-looking food items or business selling expired food products to the National Consumer Commission at 0124287000 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.