When the rumour mill hits overdrive, it’s important to keep your wits about you. It seems a number of South Africans were roped in hook, line and sinker and Tuesday, as news surfaced of Julius Malema’s “ill-health”.
The EFF leader had endured a long day of campaigning, which began with his first journey on a Metrorail train. Although he joined in with songs and dancing on the carriage, the politician was left unimpressed by the state of the rail system, lamenting the cramped conditions and late running times.
He then met with street vendors and locals in on the main streets of Umlazi before ending his day with a rally at the Durban University of Technology. A few hours after wrapping up his activities, the whispers started.
Julius Malema rushed to hospital? That’s fake news…
Stories began to emerge of Juju needing “emergency medical treatment”, with the location of his hospital also being speculated. Some suggested he had been taken to Umhlanga, which is a private facility in Durban.
The exact nature of his illness had not been disclosed, and there was no official statement from any party representatives or structures – two tell-tale signs that the fake news machine was hard at work.
Possible motives for the rumours seem to be politically motivated: One Twitter account – which blurs the line between parody and political commentary – told its 50 000 followers that Julius Malema had ignored his own socialist values in order to visit a more expensive, upmarket hospital.
So Julius Malema is in KZN on a campaign trail for votes. It been reported that he was admitted to Umhlanga Hospital, a private hospital. Instead of him going to Nkosi Albert Luthuli hospital is a world class public hospital he decided to go to a private hospital. 😂
— Not Adv Ngcukaitobi (@AdvNgcukaitobi) April 16, 2019
Juju declares himself fit and healthy
However, any concerns about Malema’s health were put to rest by the CIC himself. He responded to one of these stories by clarifying there was no rush to any hospital. He further stated that his campaign plans would continue uninterrupted throughout Wednesday.
Not at all, I'm here. Going to Mgungundlovu in KZN today.
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) April 17, 2019