Media Monitoring Africa(MMA) says there’s a need for the establishment of a multi stakeholder body that will deal with social media disinformation. The MMA says social media platforms were widely used by instigators of the July 2021 unrest that engulfed Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng.
The organisation says some members of the public used social media to post inflammatory statements that fuelled the situation.
The Human Rights Commission hearings into the Gauteng leg of the July unrest this week heard how Duduzane Zuma, the son of former president Jacob Zuma, used the social media platform to allegedly incite violence during the unrest.
MMA’s William Bird says, “we will then envisage the SAHRC to say ok, we like this idea and we are going to call together and invite people from DCDTD, ICASA some of the social media and mobile media platforms, telecoms and civil society but certainly the media bodies.”
The South African Human Rights Commission hearings into the Gauteng leg of the July unrest have ended, but with many unanswered questions. The commission says the first and second leg of the hearings gathered evidence in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng late last year and last month.
And they were overwhelmed by submissions from the various stakeholders. One of the many questions witnesses appearing before the commission had to answer was the delay in the arrest of the masterminds of the July unrest.
The commission is probing the impact of the July 2021 unrest that claimed about 350 lives and caused more than R50 billion in damages to infrastructure and businesses in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The commission has heard oral and written submissions from political groupings, businesses, and civil society movements. Four cabinet ministers are among those who testified.
The unrest began after the Constitutional Court judgement ordered the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma for failing to appear before the State Capture Inquiry.
Zuma’s son Duduzane is one of those implicated in fuelling the violence. Ethekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda is equally accused of inciting violence.
However, he dismissed the allegations during his testimony at the commission a few days ago.
Ethekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda’s testimony at the hearings: