Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has ordered News24 to apologize to philanthropist Bill Gates for publishing fake news that the billionaire wants to test a COVID-19 vaccine in Africa.
“Apologize also to Bill Gates because his reputation is impugned out of erratic reportage,” he said.
On Sunday 5 March, News24 apologized for the mistake they made when they published about Bill Gates’ support for South Africa with COVID-19. The news channel wrongly reported that the philanthropist wants to test a “vaccine” in Africa which turned out be false.
“On Saturday, we published a story about philanthropist Bill Gates’ support for South Africa with COVID-19. We wrongly reported that Gates wants to test a “vaccine” in Africa. This is false. The Gates Foundation will support South Africa with testing kits and research. We apologize for the mistake,” they said.
The issue of Vaccine testing in Africa has sparked debates on social media which led many to chant slogans like “Africa is not a science lab” and “Say no to vaccine testing”.
Trevor Noah also received criticism and even death threats after interviewing Bill Gates on vaccines. Fake news that circulated influenced people to think that he was promoting that vaccines should be tested on Africa of which he refuted those claims.
“Where in this entire interview do you hear of us saying a vaccine will be tested in Africa? Are you confusing us with those French doctors or are you just trying to get retweets?,” said Trevor Noah.