Gauteng Health opens criminal case against bogus doctor 'Matthew Lani'

Gauteng Health opens criminal case against bogus doctor 'Matthew Lani'

The Gauteng Department of Health has opened a criminal case against 'Dr Matthew Lani ' for falsely presenting himself as a medical practitioner. 

HPCSA, Wits dissociate themselves from bogus doctor
TikTok_ @doc.matthew

The case was opened at the Brixton Police Station on Monday after social media unmasked Lani as a fake doctor.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as well as the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) have already distanced themselves from the bogus doctor.

The famous TikTok doctor ‘Dr Matthew Lani’, who claimed to have studied medicine at Wits Medical School, has been falsely representing his qualifications, according to both institutions.

He was seen in scrubs, allegedly at one of Gauteng’s public hospitals, on social media.

Lani, who is known for dispensing medical advice online, says his name is not listed with the HPCSA as he uses different names on social media.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, the department said he managed his way into the system by pretending to be an employee of Helen Joseph Hospital.

Spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said he was creating social media content in the hospital's corridors.

"Further investigations have revealed that Dr Sanele Zingelwa, the name which the Lani claims is his real name, belongs to a second-year medical intern at Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital. The real Dr Sanele Sobani Vambani Zingelwa has since opened a case of identity fraud at Tembisa Police Station."

The department featured the bogus doctor on their social media platforms for a Youth Month campaign in 2022.

Modiba defended their actions, saying young medical professionals were asked to send in their video clips on what it means for them to be born-free and he was one of the participants.

"This was the only time the department ever worked with him. At the time there was nothing that raised suspicion that he was not person in the employ of the facility."

Modiba said In October 2022, Lani recorded a video complaining of non-payment as a medical intern at Helen Joseph Hospital.

"Subsequently, Lani was contacted by the CEO, and asked to present himself at the facility’s human resource unit to address his complaint.

"He then confirmed that his matter was receiving attention and even deleted the video he had posted on TikTok at the time as he felt it was drawing unnecessary attention," said Modiba.

He said the department has also learnt that under the name that he claims is his real name of ‘Dr Sanele Zingelwa’, Lani fabricated a story about a large number of people having been admitted at Helen Joseph Hospital after taking a particular weight-loss pill.

"This led The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to investigate the matter in August 2023, and found out that there was no such."

Modiba said the incident proves there is an urgent need to strengthen access control across all their facilities.

"The opening of a criminal case against Lani is in line with the Health Professions Act, Act No. 56 of 1974 as amended which states that practicing whilst not registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa is a criminal offence and that any person who uses any name, title, description or symbol indicating, or calculated to lead persons to infer that he or she is the holder of any qualification of which they are not shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction, is liable to a fine, imprisonment or both." 

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