Home South Africa News Journalist asks Mbalula where she can report Andile Lungisa for spreading fake...

Journalist asks Mbalula where she can report Andile Lungisa for spreading fake news

Andile Lungisa

The senior ANC Eastern Cape councillor has, among other things, been trying to popularise the allegation that Bill Gates may be up to no good in Africa.

In a Twitter exchange that took place on Sunday, journalist Verashni Pillay took issue with an ANC councillor, Andile Lungisa, in Nelson Mandela Bay for spreading questionable information about billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.

She wrote to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, asking him: “Minister, where can we report the spread of misinformation about the virus, which I believe is now criminal? Mr. Lungisa is a councillor in Nelson Mandela Bay with major reach on social media. This is beyond irresponsible from a government representative.”

It began when Pillay commented on an apology from news site News24 about an article with a headline that hadn’t reported accurately on Gates’ involvement in the fight against Covid-19 in Africa. The headline had suggested he was somehow part of a vaccine being trialled on the continent, which was not the case.

Pillay was concerned that because News24 is South Africa’s biggest news site it would be difficult to undo the “damage”.

“The damage is done now. The lie sticks in people’s heads. I know I’ve made (and paid!) for big mistakes in journalism but I’m shocked at how cavalier major publications are being in this time,” she wrote.

She was referring to how she had been fired as the then editor of the now-defunct Huffington Post website – a one-time partner site to News24 – in 2017 over a column the site had published about white male privilege. She had defended the column, only for it to turn out to be a fake opinion planted by a man who had been trying to embarrass mainstream news sites.

She successfully appealed a finding against her by the then press ombudsman, who had gone as far as to call the Huffington Post’s publication of the column “hate speech”.

On appeal, this was overturned.

Pillay subsequently worked as an online editor for Power FM and has now launched her own news site called explain.co.za, which aims to bring more contextualized news to a South African audience and, in effect, “explain” news to people more simply.

She has been using her Twitter account to try to educate people on the facts around Gates’ involvement in fighting disease in the developing world.

She later particularly took issue with the outspoken and controversial Nelson Mandela Bay councillor, Lungisa, who shared screenshots from an article that alleged, among other things, that Gates has been using his philanthropic projects as little more than a tax avoidance ploy and that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has no genuine interest in fighting poverty and its associated ills, including in Africa.

Instead, he shared allegations that the Gates couple have investments in pharmaceutical companies who are supposedly using Africans in poor countries as guinea pigs to research potentially dangerous drugs. However, none of this has been proven and Pillay told Lungisa: “Come on Andile, stop spreading fake news. You’re screengrabbing because you have zero reputable sources.”

On Lungisa’s timeline, the same screenshots were repeatedly shared in answer to numerous people.

Pillay also told another news site that they were being irresponsible by relying on “some Twitter users’ uninformed outrage over @BillGates helping Africa”.

She said it was “NOT a story”.

“Don’t feed the trolls – or the fake news factory. It’s irresponsible. We all know Gates’ credibility.”

Lungisa’s selection of screenshots at one point even included allegations that the West has been up to no good with vaccine injections that supposedly only spread dangerous diseases such as polio. He even shared another questionable screenshot from a dubious website alleging that Gates had not even vaccinated his own children.

In response, Lungisa said it was “clever blacks” who were the ones calling his views “conspiracy theories”. He also said: “Please don’t worry about our black mascots one day they will understand. This is moment is to [sic] complex for them.”

Lungisa was in 2018 convicted of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and sentenced to two years’ jail time.

He was found guilty of intentionally smashing a glass jug over the head of former mayoral committee member for transport Rano Kayser during a chaotic 2016 Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting.

The Grahamstown High Court dismissed his application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence last year.

His case has since been caught up in the legal system and one Twitter user reminded him that he would probably still end up behind bars.

In other news – Scandal! actor Given Stuurman welcomes his beautiful newborn baby Girl – Pictures

Congratulations are in order for Scandal! actor Given Stuurman after he and his girlfriend welcomed their first child into the world on Sunday evening.

Given Stuurman

The baby girl was born at Netcare Garden City Hospital in Johannesburg. Given, who plays the well-known character of Kgosi on the popular soapie, continue reading

Source: The Citizen