Does This Video Show South African Police Officers Looting?

Amid recent riots in South Africa that left at least 276 people dead, the video below was on July 12 shared on Twitter claiming to show police officers looting.

Another tweet with over 2,000 retweets and 3,000 likes shared the same video stating that law enforcement officers in Durban allegedly took part in the looting as protesters called for the release of former President Jacob Zuma.


Days after the unrest experienced in South Africa subsided, effects of the riots continue to be tallied. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said that this was the worst riot in the country since apartheid.

Posts on the protest trended under the hashtag #FreeJacobZuma, some of these posts which Piga Firimbi detected contained fake news, including claims that inmates at the Estcourt Correctional Center, where Jacob Zuma is locked up apparently went on hunger strike demanding his release and a video plucked from a movie shoot which was posted to falsely show a gun battle that allegedly took place during the protests. The fact-checks were published here and here.


A reverse image search shows, on July 12, 2021, the same video was shared on YouTube with claims that South Africa’s police were participating in looting. Similarly, on July 13, 2021, another YouTube account posted the same claims.

However, The South African news website on July 12, 2021 published an article debunking these claims. This article states that the Metro police officers in this video were from eThekwini municipality. It also quotes the municipality’s spokesperson, Mandla Nsele responding to claims that the police were looting. 

“The city notes with concern the video of Metro Police officers seen to be looting. Upon a preliminary investigation, it was determined that the police were not looting, but rather confiscating the goods in their possession and recovering the items that were abandoned by those criminal elements who were looting,” the spokesperson said.

A press release responding to these claims was also published on the municipality’s website on July 12, 2021. The statement indicates that hundreds of people had been arrested with the evidence of looted properties loaded in vehicles. It further adds that these recovered items would be registered with South Africa’s Police Service.


Posts claiming to show a video of South Africa’s police reportedly taking part in looting are FALSE.

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.