South African’s rejoiced with excitement this week, as reports stated the newly elected President of the United States, Donald Trump, signed a visa-free travel policy for South Africans wanting to enter the USA. However, unfortunately this was not true.
As has been plaguing online media for some time, this report turned out to be ‘fake news’. In other words, a seemingly legitimate news story that is based on false information and incorrect facts.
The story was published on a website called USA Television. The article entitled, “Donald Trump signs a visa-free travel policy for South Africa”, claimed that the US President signed an executive order to allow all South African nationals to travel to the US, visa-free, for up to a maximum period of 180 days for both tourism and business purposes.
The article states the reasoning for this agreement, “Trump says this measure is to strengthen trade between the United States and South Africa.”
It also states that South Africans with dual nationality from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen – the seven nations whose US visas Trump recently revoked – would not qualify for the visa waiver.
South Africa is not the only victim to fall prey to these faux claims; similar fake news articles have been published on the site about other Africa countries such as Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Angola.
According to reports from the Cape Argus, a Twitter user enquired on the official Home Affairs account whether or not this report was true. Mayihlome Tshwete, a spokesperson for Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, said: “I don’t want to comment on fake news as it only draws more attention to it.”