South African authorities are ‘monitoring all social media’ as riots and looting grip the country

People loot an area near a burning warehouse in Durban, South Africa
People loot an area near a burning warehouse in Durban, South Africa

  • The South African minister of police said that authorities were monitoring social-media platforms in the country.
  • “We are engaging the different platforms to track and trace the origins of inflammatory posts and messages inciting violence,” he said.
  • Violence and protests erupted in the country last week when former President Jacob Zuma was arrested.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The South African minister of police said Tuesday that authorities in the country were monitoring social-media platforms to suss out individuals inciting violence online amid ongoing chaos in the country.

“We also issue a stern warning to those circulating inflammatory messages on social media platforms which are aimed at inciting violence and disregard of the law,” said Bheki Cele, the South African minister of police, according to a copy of his speech posted by the local outlet Times Live.

Protests and later violence and looting erupted last week in South Africa after former President Jacob Zuma was arrested after he failed to show up to proceedings in a corruption inquiry, according to NBC News. So far, more than 70 people have died in the violence.

Many of the deaths have occured when people were trampled to death during the looting of businesses when police fired grenades and shot rubber bullets into crowds, the Associated Press reported.

So far, more than 1,200 people have been arrested in violent demonstrations, according to the AP. The violence has also destroyed hundreds of businesses and caused an oil refinery to temporarily shut down, NBC News reported.

“Those who engage in such acts will be liable for criminal offense and can receive a fine or be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years,” Cele said, citing a law known as The Cybersecurity Act, which he said prohibits people in South Africa from using the internet to incite violence or encourage the destruction of private property.

“As the cluster, we are monitoring all social media platforms and we are tracking those who are sharing false information and calling for civil disobedience,” Cele said.

“We are engaging the different platforms to track and trace the origins of inflammatory posts and messages inciting violence and have requested these be taken down with immediate effect,” he added.

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