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Dr Matthew Lani: TikTok star arrested in South Africa

  • Published
    16 hours ago

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Image source, Matthew Lani/TikTok

A TikTok star accused of falsely claiming to be a doctor has been arrested after trying to enter a hospital in South Africa.

Matthew Lani garnered thousands of followers by sharing medical advice and selling medication online.

On Sunday night, Mr Lani tried to bypass security by disguising himself with a surgical mask and stethoscope.

He tried to escape police custody by jumping out of a bathroom window, before being caught.


The Gauteng province Department of Health released a statement saying Mr Lani frequently used the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg where he was caught to “curate misleading content under the pretence that he was a qualified doctor”.

He had almost 300,000 followers on TikTok before his account was closed. He then opened another one, which has more than 50,000 followers.

His arrest follows a manhunt lasting several weeks after questions arose over his qualifications.

Mr Lani says he received a medical degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The institution says this is not the case.

The Department of Education says Mr Lani did not even obtain his school-leaving certificate.

He allegedly tried to mislead authorities by saying his real name was Dr Sanele Zingelwa – a second-year medical intern at the Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital.

Dr Zingelwe has opened a criminal case against Mr Lani, accusing him of fraud.

Mr Lani is only the latest person to be arrested on charges of impersonating a doctor in South Africa.

According to the Ministry of Health, there have been about 124 such arrests over the last three years.

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