There was outrage after South African Judge Thokozile Masipa handed Oscar Pistorius a six-year prison sentence, but one local website took things too far.
Shortly after Judge Masipa gave her ruling on July 6, Twitter users took to the social media platform to offer up their 140-character reactions to Pistorius’ sentence.
— LeoOfArabia (@AynHaAyn) July 6, 2016
— Trending Award News (@Awardolizer) July 7, 2016
— Andile.N (@AndileNdwalane) July 6, 2016
However, the MzansiLive website took things a step further by hitting social media with the “news” that the judge’s car had been attacked with a petrol bomb. That article still remains on their website as of this report.
Saying July 6 was a “tragic day” for the judge, when sentencing Oscar Pistorius so lightly, their article quoted sources close to Masipa as saying her car had been petrol bombed on her way home from court.
“Two petrol bombs were thrown at Judge Masipa’s car, one hit her front and the other was thrown inside the car via an open passenger window. I was quick to react when I saw flames and smoke, though I was a distance, I managed to reach her on time, she had already passed out. The offenders disappeared from the scene in a black Toyota SUV,” a source allegedly said.
Their article also stated that South Africans in general – and supporters of Reeva Steenkamp in particular – didn’t react well to the sentencing. They also reported that the ANC Women’s League had described the prison sentence as an insult to the judicial system.
The rumor also stated that emergency services took longer than usual to respond to the scene. However, Chitra Bodasing, spokesperson for ER24 (the local emergency response organization), reportedly denied this. Bodasing told The Argus that ER24 was totally unaware of any such petrol bombing incident.
Could this be considered and indirect threat? https://t.co/3w6bVGq93B
— DrGerard Labuschagne (@GNLabuschagne) July 9, 2016
An “anonymous family member” is said to have told the website that Judge Masipa was in a stable condition in hospital. The same “family member” was quoted as saying, “This is tragedy; we all believe that it has something to do with the Pistorius case. As a family we have the Good Samaritan to thank, who was quick enough to pull her out of the car, she could have been burnt to death.”
In related news on the Inquisitr:
- Oscar Pistorius Gets Six Years For Murdering Reeva Steenkamp
- Oscar Pistorius Sentencing: Walks Without Prosthesis, Cries In Court In A Bid To Escape Prison
- Oscar Pistorius And Family ‘Tell All’ Interview With ITV To Air Following Sentencing Next Week
The story also appeared on YouTube, again strengthening the rumor for those against the verdict.
However, probably the worst part of the article was the accompanying – and very convincing looking – photo of a burning car, which led thousands of people to instantly believe the story, causing them to share it widely on social media.
— Dolus umunt’omnyamus (@Jack_KnifedSA) July 7, 2016
However, it turns out the photograph was taken from an article about a traffic accident in China on June 2, where the car had collided with a bus.
— BreakingHongKongNews (@FollowHKNews) June 2, 2016
Reportedly, Nathi Mncube from the Office of the Chief Justice has confirmed he is aware of the allegations and would be responding on the matter in due course. The Argus reportedly reached out to MzansiLive for comment, but have received no response.
[Photo by Siphiwe Sibeko – Pool/Getty Images]