Brand new 5G conspiracy theories cause fires in S.Africa

Three cellphone towers were burnt down in the area of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa after some people started linking the epic spread of the coronavirus to the 5G infrastructure. This is just one of the many 5G conspiracy theories that have spread since the virus was first declared a pandemic in March 2020.

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The destruction of these networks happened after a KwaZulu-Natal councilor Sfiso Mngadi shared these 5G conspiracy theories in a voice note which circulated all over social media saying, “As leaders of eThekwini we need to take action against this disease. It is not COVID. We are getting this thing from 5G towers, installed during this period in preparation for the second wave.”

The phone towers that were torched belong to the popular telecom networks Vodafone and MTN. The burning of these towers follows a re-emergence of conspiracy theories as the numbers of infections continue to rise.

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On 7th January 2021, another Facebook post about the same conspiracy theory claiming that 5G cellular networks were making people sick and not COVID-19 was dismissed by a fact-checking agency known as Africa Check. At the time the post was dismissed, it had been viewed over 31,200 times on Facebook.

The origin of 5G conspiracy theories.

Links between 5G cellular networks and COVID-19 started spreading after a Belgian Newspaper published a headline “5G is threatening and no one knows it”. Under the headline, the newspaper explained that 5G was a danger to human lives and could be linked to COVID-19. It emphasized that since 2019, many 5G cell towers have been built around Wuhan 2019.

However, there is no credible scientific evidence to support this theory that links 5G or mobile technologies to the spread of the coronavirus.

The International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a Germany based independent scientific body that assesses the health risks of radio broadcasts including 5G, has declared 5G as safe.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies in South Africa condemned the destruction of cellphone network tower infrastructure and urged the South African Police Service to arrest those responsible.

She went on to say, ”Spreading fake news or disinformation about COVID-19 is a punishable offense. Those involved in the destruction of infrastructure are not only breaking the law but also violate people’s rights to access information.”

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