‘We don’t do deals on social media’: Government warns of fake social media accounts impersonating Deputy Minister Dipuo Peters

Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Dipuo Peters. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Dipuo Peters. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 30, 2024


The Ministry of Small Business Development has warned members of the public to avoid falling prey to fake social media accounts that purport to belong to Deputy Minister Dipuo Peters.

In a statement, spokesperson Cornelius Monama said it appears there is a well-coordinated plan by con artists to target small business owners by impersonating the leadership of the Department of Small Business Development.

“A similar scam targeting Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was discovered a few weeks ago,” he said.

“The ministry has also discovered several fake Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that purport to belong to the Deputy Minister (Peters). These fake accounts are created by fraudsters whose sole intention is to defraud innocent citizens and gullible individuals. They are using the name and position of the deputy minister to solicit money from poor and struggling ordinary South Africans in exchange for non-existent funding or favours.”

Social media apps on a phone screen. Picture: Denis Charlet / AFP

Government has “strongly” condemned the fraudulent use of the deputy minister’s identity and pictures to create fake accounts whose purpose is to scam innocent citizens, especially small business owners.

“We wish to reiterate that neither the Minister (Ndabeni-Abrahams), Deputy Minister (Peters), nor any official of the department will ever request “upfront fees” from members of the public in exchange for accessing funding or business opportunities,” said Monama.

Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. File Picture: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS

“Members of the public are urged to be vigilant and not allow themselves to fall prey to these criminals.”

Small business owners are reminded that no business funding or deal can be facilitated or concluded by the department, its leaders, or officials on social media.

“In addition, the minister and deputy minister never get involved in disbursing funds, as these are administrative processes that are handled by relevant officials within the department,” said Monama.

“Anyone who has already fallen victim to these fraudsters is urged to report the matter to the police as soon as possible.”

Facebook application icon on a phone screen. File Picture: Denis Charle / AFP

Last year, IOL reported that a 35-year-old man appeared in court, accused of sharing pornographic images bearing the superimposed faces of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Scebi Thabiso Nene faces two counts of crimen injuria after he allegedly sent the images via social media.

At the time, the Hawks said Nene was arrested by the Gauteng Crimes Against the State team, together with the Pietermaritzburg-based Serious Organised Crime Investigation team.

“The investigation about pornographic images of unknown individuals with superimposed faces of the president, his excellency CM Ramaphosa, Minister of Police honourable B Cele, and his wife ensued in the beginning of May. The images were distributed to police officers and members of the public on social media platforms," the Hawks said.