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Fact Check-Tweet playing down Omicron is from fake South African PM account

Some social media users are sharing a tweet allegedly posted by the prime minister of South Africa, which plays down the importance of the Omicron coronavirus variant discovered in the country. However, no such position exists and the tweet is not from a verified government account.

An example can be seen here .

The account’s name is “Prime Minister” and the Twitter handle is “@Jamnandasgodan” (here). The account is not verified, while most official South African government Twitter pages are (examples twitter.com/TreasuryRSA , twitter.com/GovernmentZA and twitter.com/PresidencyZA ).

The tweet reads: “Lies lies we are fine here in SA no variant nothing. Unemployment rate is at 40%, petrol price at $2 a Litre. Poverty and unemployment are the major pandemics here not this covid thing...”

The constitution of the Republic of South Africa established in 1996 (visible here ) lists executive positions, without mentioning a prime minister.

The position ceased to exist after constitutional reforms in 1984 when the position of state president received executive standing, as explained here .

The last prime minister of South Africa was Pieter Willem Botha, who then became the first state president in 1984 ( here and here ).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged the Omicron coronavirus variant (examples here and here ).

VERDICT

False. The tweet about the Omicron variant was not posted by the prime minister of South Africa, as the position does not exist.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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