updated 9:43 AM UTC, Dec 29, 2017

We took notice of the article by Caryn Dolley «Underworld takeover: The Russian links» alleging a connection between the introduction of the Russia-South Africa visa-free regime and a spike in criminal activity in Cape Town supposedly involving Eastern Europeans. The article was published on News24 on 10 April 2017.

At no point in time has Ms. Dolley or News24 contacted the Embassy to verify facts used in the article and receive an official comment on the matter.

Even in terms of geography, unnamed citizens of Eastern Europe and Ukraine, either real or imaginary, come from Eastern Europe and Ukraine, and visa regulations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa cannot be applied to them. Those personalities presented by the author as «Russians» are also not Russian citizens.

The false allegations and connections implied by the author are unworthy of the standards set by Media24 and News24. What we have is a classic example of fake news, with a «story» based on hearsays, rumours, wild assumptions and unverified information.

This piece puts a taint on the visa-free regime in the eyes of the South African audience, and unfairly so, as the visa waiver has been introduced to benefit both our nations, strengthen people-to-people ties, bolster tourism and broaden economic cooperation.