Misleading xenophobic messages & images investigated

State Security Minister David Mahlobo says law enforcement agencies are on the trail of those responsible.

A picture taken by Jon Hrusa during the 2008 xenophobic violence. Picture: Jon Hrusa.

JOHANNESBURG - State Security Minister David Mahlobo says any information suggesting imminent attacks will be communicated to the public through official means and has warned those sending fictitious and photoshopped images to stop.

Yesterday, government briefed media in Pretoria on progress being made to bring an end to attacks made against foreign nationals.

One example of messages doing the rounds is of terrorist group Boko Haram giving Pretoria 24-hours to halt the pogroms or face the consequences.

Mahlobo says this misinformation taking place on social media should be condemned by all peace loving South Africans and foreign nationals.

Mahlobo says law enforcement agencies are on the trails of those responsible.

"There is too much material that is being distributed on the social platforms. Those investigations are at an advanced stage. Others, they also actually making a mistake, we know if someone's profile is there on the system but they're busy sending messages that are inciting violence."

Here are just some of the images and videos currently being shared, which are either old and misrepresenting the facts of what's currently happening; or they're completely different countries and have nothing to do with the current xenophobic attacks.


Many people are sharing the below photo as if it were part of the recent spate of xenophobic attacks.

The image is actually from 2008 and the photographer, Jon Hrusa, died in 2011.

Thus, it's impossible that he was able to capture this image in 2015.

A famous photo of man who was burnt to death was taken during the 2008 wave of xenophobic attacks.

It has made resurgence on social media, misrepresenting it as occurring in 2015.

Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave was murdered by a mob in an informal settlement nearly seven years ago.

A picture of a person whose back has been hacked has also made waves on social media and is being 'directly linked' to the current xenophobic violence.

This is a complete distortion of facts.

The picture is of an incident which took place in Nigeria and while there's no definitive clarity on what the actual story behind it is; what is clear is that the image already existed in 2012 meaning its circulation this year is unrelated to recent events.

There are several videos going around claiming to be based on the current xenophobic violence, where three men are necklaced by a group of angry residents.

This video was actually taken in the North West and is evidence of mob justice and not xenophobia.