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Plato to open criminal case against Independent Media, Samwu for misinformation

He said he was appalled by a front-page article in Saturday’s 'Weekend Argus' under the headline: 'Fears of Homeless Outbreak’.

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato. Picture: @CityofCT/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said the municipality would lay a criminal complaint against Independent Media and the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

He said he was appalled by a front-page article in Saturday’s Weekend Argus under the headline: 'Fears of Homeless Outbreak’.

Plato said the article led members of the public to believe that nine law enforcement officers have infected the homeless at the Strandfontein temporary shelter and that the homeless were now being released to infect the population.

Plato has stressed this was false, blatantly malicious and irresponsible reporting, which amounted to nothing but fear-mongering and an attempt to spread panic among residents.

He said earlier this week, two staff members who assisted on a temporary basis at the Joint Operations Centre in Strandfontein tested positive for COVID-19 on separate occasions.

Plato stated they never had any contact with the homeless people at the facility as the centre was separate and fenced off from the living areas and not open to any residents or service providers on site.

The centre was closed; deep cleansed and decontaminated on Monday and was operational two days later.

Officials who had contact with the two members were also immediately isolated and tested and their results have come back negative.

The mayor said the article further claimed no homeless people have been tested for COVID-19, however, he insisted every single homeless person there has been screened at least twice.