A South African TikToker is facing a criminal investigation after she allegedly made false allegations of racism against three young people.
Njabulo Madlanga claims that Reece Lopes (20), Milan Kruijer (20) and Jude Fraser-Grant (21) made monkey noises when she and her siblings visited the Gold Reef City amusement park earlier this year.
Madlanga documented the alleged incident in a series of posts on the social media platform TikTok. Some of these posts have been viewed more than two million times.
The videos are said to have sparked a flood of online abuse, including death threats directed at Lopes, Kruijer and Fraser-Grant.
The young people already filed a case with the police in August, but after the case was summarily closed, they approached AfriForum’s private prosecution unit for help.
Wico Swanepoel, lawyer at the private prosecution unit, says charges of crimen injuria and criminal defamation are now being investigated against Madlanga.
The private prosecution unit went with Lopes and Kruijer to the Booysens police station on Tuesday to submit additional, comprehensive statements to add to the dossier.
Lopes, Kruijer and Fraser-Grant were also granted an interim protection order against Madlanga. The order, which was granted by the Booysens Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg, prohibits Madlanga from further harassing the complainants or enlisting the help of others to harass the complainants. The order has yet to be served on her.
“The unit has previously stated publicly that false allegations of racism must be treated just as seriously as bona fide allegations of such discrimination,” says Swanepoel.
Soh apparently it happens
According to the affidavits the three friends submitted to the police, the situation began on July 6 when they visited the Gold Reef City amusement park.
Lopes says that while they were waiting to get on one of the roller coasters, Madlanga and her relatives pushed in front of them.
“It’s not an unusual thing to happen, but it was frustrating nonetheless,” he said.
It was apparently at this stage that Madlanga claimed that the three friends made noises imitating monkeys. She shared a video on TikTok in which she argues that if you are a black person and visit the amusement park, people will make monkey noises for you.
In another TikTok post, and at the request of her followers to identify the alleged racists, Madlanga posted a video of the three standing in line.
Kruijer sent a message to Madlanga on 9 July in which he denied her allegations of racism. He also denied that he or his friends made any noises or that they are racist.
It is in this message that he also warned her that if she did not remove the posts, they would file a criminal complaint against her.
“Instead of removing the posts, Madlanga posted a screenshot of Kruijer and argued that she was being intimidated,” says Swanepoel.
“The post led to further attacks against the three friends.”
According to Swanepoel, the attacks and threats on social media have a major effect on Lopes, Kruijer and Fraser-Grant’s well-being.
Swanepoel says the unit was established to ensure equality before the law and that justice is maintained in all cases.
“False allegations of racism should be treated as seriously as true allegations of racism. False allegations also have serious implications in the public domain for these victims and therefore we will ensure that justice prevails in this case.”