The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has condemned social media reports suggesting that the death of children after they consumed noodles can be ascribed to “tampering” on the part of foreign nationals.
This after at least five children died after consuming the popular food item in two separate incidents in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
“The commission reminds the public that official sources, being the Department of Health and South African Police Services, are still investigating the possible contamination. At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest any possible tampering or any link with foreign owned businesses. Should there be cause for concern, the authorities will communicate this,” the commission said in a statement.
The SAHRC said to cast any aspersions of maliciousness on the part of foreign nationals is “irresponsible”.
“Suggestions that the tragic deaths… in two different provinces are the result of revenge by foreign nationals are irresponsible and have no basis in fact. Until such time as the health authorities confirm the cause of the deaths… and the police have traced the source of any contamination (should any contamination be found), the commission urges communities across the country to remain vigilant against the irresponsible spread of any messages which attempt to link the deaths to any alleged revenge plot,” the commission said.
The SAHRC implored the public not to spread fake news over the internet regarding the two incidents.
“Health authorities have postulated a possible recall of the products concerned should the evidence indicate that this is required. Should you receive messages of this nature, please do not forward them and advise the sender of the message that this is unproven allegation and fake news.
“The commission will continue to monitor the media and engage with the authorities in regard to ensuring that factual information is made available to the public”.