South African News

Fake Doctor Lani Arrested

Under fire Bongani Matthew Lani, who was oust earlier this month for masquerading on social media as a 24-year-old doctor, has been arrested.

A video circulating on social media shows the bogus doctor being arrested by security personnel at Helen Joseph Hospital where he had been visiting to shoot TikTok content in a bid to prove to his followers that he is not a fake medical practitioner.

The viral video was shared by entertainment commentator Phil Mphela who emphasised that it was not the South African Police Service (SAPS) who arrested Lani. However, he added that police were called in by the guards to arrest the popular TikToker.

In the clip, the bogus doctor is surrounded by security guards who tie him up to a chair. He can be heard denying jumping, as he is accused of jumping through one of the hospital windows in an attempt to run away from the guards. Lani also denies that the stethoscopes in one of the security guards’ hands belong to him. He is famous for always wearing the medical instrument in his TikTok videos.

The Gauteng Department of Health later released a statement confirming Lani’s arrest.

“He was apprehended while entering the main entrance of the facility… disguised in a hoodie and wearing a surgical mask with a stethoscope around his neck,” read the statement.

“Immediately after being apprehended Lani requested to go to the bathroom only to attempt to escape by jumping through the bathroom window. When the security realised that he was making a run for it, they called for reinforcement, and he was subsequently apprehended again.”

Lani is accused of stealing the identity of Dr Sanele Zingelwa’s identity, who is a second-year medical intern at the Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital. Dr Zingelwa has opened a case against him.

On Monday, 9 October, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the Gauteng Health Department confirmed that Lani was not a registered doctor working at Helen Joseph Hospital, as he had been claiming on social media. Wits University, where he claimed to have graduated, also denied he had graduated from the institution.

In addition, it was revealed by the Gauteng Department of Education that Lani doesn’t have a matric certificate. The department also said the bogus doctor was previously enrolled at a school for pupils with special needs.

“Our official records indicate that Matthew Bongani Lani was initially enrolled at Bordeaux Primary School [Randburg] in 2007. However, he was referred to Gresswold Learners with Special Needs School in Johannesburg in January 2010,” said education department spokesperson Steve Mabona.

In 2016, the influencer (who had 300 000 followers on his TikTok account before it was suspended) reappeared on the department’s system at Fourways Adult Centre, where he only passed one subject out of the three he wrote.

“Based on these records and further verified information at our disposal from Umalusi (the education quality assurance body), we can confirm that Matthew Bongani Lani indeed does not possess a matric certificate,” said Mabona.

Lani, who has previously been interviewed by a number of radio stations, is known for giving medical advice to his social media followers. He also sells weight-loss tablets on his social media platforms.

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