Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Dead End For Somizi Mhlongo?

TV AND RADIO personality Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung’s problems might be bigger than he thinks. SomGAGA is facing a charge of contravening government’s lockdown regulations as published under the Disaster Management Act on fake news peddling and misinformation peddling.

The case was opened by Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula on Friday.

If found guilty, Somizi might no longer travel to countries where people with a criminal record are not allowed.

The trouble started after a viral Instagram Live video, in which Somizi name-drops Mbalula, claiming that’s where he got information about the lockdown extension.

The video went viral hours before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension on Thursday evening.

According to the Act, any person who contravenes the regulations “shall be guilty of an offence and, on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment”.

Sunday Sun spoke to a reputation analyst and lawyer about the damage Somizi might have caused for himself.

Tshepo Matseba, a reputation analyst from Reputation Group, said if found guilty in the court of law, the consequences are far beyond going to jail or paying a fine.

“The reputational damage to the individual is far-reaching. People and clients will remember you for being this reckless person.”
Dead End For Somizi Mhlongo?
Dead End For Somizi Mhlongo?
Tshepo said while South Africans are forgiving, paying clients might not have a forgiving heart.

“It doesn’t make sense that a person who has common sense and cares about their image and reputation would engage in such reckless conduct.”

Although Somizi said it was a joke, Tshepo said it was so serious that even comedians don’t make jokes about COVID-19 or its regulations.

Tuelo Thomas of Thomas TR Attorneys Inc said: “A lot of celebrities have criminal records. There are ministers with criminal records.

“It’s not really going to affect him.”

He said even with the criminal record, one can still live a normal live but said it depended on the magnitude and seriousness of the crime.

On the visa, Tuelo said there are also countries such as the US and Canada, which are very strict on visas and would deny people visas over petty criminal offences.

“Some European countries are more relaxed, but it depends on the seriousness of the offence. If it’s minor, you are most likely to get your visa.”

Tuelo said if the offence was terrorism, no country would grant him a visa.

The name-dropping made Mbalula open a case against Somizi at the Sandton Police Station on Friday.

Police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo confirmed Mbalula had opened a case and said it was under investigation.

Mbalula claimed he suspected the video was disseminated deliberately to cause disruption.

In the video, Somizi told Dineo that there was going to be an extension of the lockdown, and he had spoken to ‘Fikile.’

But on Thursday evening, Somizi apologised for his ‘bad joke’ in a video also shared by Mbaks on Twitter.

In the video, Somizi explains that he was joking, only after his Metro FM colleague in the video, Dineo Ranaka, had gone off Instagram Live.

“I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal,” he said.

“I’m just like you, I didn’t know about it. I was just guessing. I would like to apologise to Fikile and anyone who might have been offended by it. It was a bad joke.”

The SABC also promised to investigate the matter, as Somizi was its contractor. – Daily Sun

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