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Sharing fake weather warnings in South Africa could land you in jail

When a municipality on South Africa’s East Rand warned residents of an impending tornado, an unofficial weather service posted a correction: “BREAKING: FALSE tornado warning SMS apparently sent out by Ekurhuleni EMS. Do not distribute as it is a criminal offence under SAWS Act.”

Ekurhuleni emergency services and disaster management spokesman, William Ntladi, told Africa Check that the message was sent by a manager at one of the municipality’s customer care centres.

It was a mistake and the City of Ekurhuleni apologised for the error, Ntladi told Africa Check.

“The message was sent out before the information was verified. It’s not as if this person did this intentionally to cause panic,” he said.

CIFOR

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