Humanitarian organisation did not offer food relief via Facebook amidst unrest in South Africa

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A message shared on Facebook several times in South Africa claims that Gift of the Givers, a non-governmental organisation, has asked households in Durban, South Africa affected by the recent social unrest to register for food relief donations through a Facebook post. But the claim is false: Gift of the Givers said that the message is not from them.  

The post, which has since been removed, was shared nearly 100 times since being posted on Facebook on July 19, 2021.

 

Screenshot of the false post, taken on July 26, 2021

“If any families need food parcels in Durban please contact the following number. Vicknesh 0834510437 (sic),” reads the post.

It furthers asks the people in Durban to provide personal information in order to receive the food donations. “Give them your name, telephone number, address and number of people in the family. They will deliver. Please send the messenger to anyone who needs. Trucks arrived this morning in Durban (sic).”

The post was also shared here on July 18, 2021. 

Durban is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, the province that was most affected by the July 2021 unrest that claimed at least 337 lives.

The unrest started after former South Africa president Jacob Zuma handed himself to the police to begin a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.

Gift of Givers refutes claim

On July 20, 2021, Gift of the Givers posted on its official Facebook page that the message is fake.

“FAKE NEWS! It has been brought to our attention that fake news in regards to #GiftoftheGivers distributions is being spread on all social media channels. The below messages have surfaced,” reads a post from the organisation’s verified Facebook account.

The organisation told AFP Fact Check that it is providing food and medicine to families affected by the unrest and has its own internal methods of distributing aid.

“The message is false, and we don’t actually know who is behind it. The fact that the people behind the message are asking for personal information makes it suspect,” said Gift of the Givers.

The post also contains a contact number unrelated to the Gift of the Givers.

Gift of the Givers Foundation is a non-government organisation that has operated in Africa for nearly three decades. It focuses on disaster response, hunger alleviation, clean water provision, healthcare, education, and social upliftment.