Matthew Lani avoids fraud charges: Here’s what the NPA revealed
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The 27-year-old was apprehended by security personnel at the Helen Joseph Provincial Hospital on Sunday, 29 October 2023, but was not required to step into the dock.
His lawyer, Dumisani Mabunda, expressed confidence that the matter would not be reinstated. Lani emerged from the court precinct with a crutch under his arm and a wound on his lips, stating:
“I just want to go home, eat and sleep.”
How Matthew’s ‘doctor’ charade came crumbling down
Matthew Lani gained significant attention as a viral TikToker, especially due to questions surrounding his supposed medical qualifications. With over 250,000 followers on TikTok, he became a subject of scrutiny after several of his videos surfaced on social media platforms.
His narrative of overcoming adversity to become a health and wellness activist raised eyebrows, primarily due to inconsistencies and accusations of identity theft.
Matthew Lani first gained public attention on 23 November 2021, as a guest on Relebogile Mabotja’s talk show, Unpacked.
During the episode, he shared a compelling account of being deliberately infected with HIV/AIDS by an ex-partner. The story propelled him to the forefront of HIV/AIDS activism but has yet to be verified.
Matthew’s identity has been a point of contention. He identified himself as a 24-year-old in several public appearances, contradicting his recent claim of turning 27 on 9 October 2023.
His educational background is also under scrutiny; he claimed to have pursued a medical degree at Wits University from 2014 to 2021, which would imply he completed matric at 15.
The TikToker has also initiated several fundraising campaigns. One such fundraiser, titled “NO SHAME IN BEING HIV-POSITIVE,” aimed to raise R10,000 for his ‘Greater Than AIDS Africa’ non-profit organisation but failed to attract donations.
Lani’s rise to social media stardom took a turn when he took his story to TikTok in June 2022. His videos quickly gained traction, and he was even featured in the Gauteng Health Department’s 2022 Youth Day campaign.
However, following recent revelations about his medical qualifications, the department deleted the promotional video.
Matthew Lani’s case raises several questions about the reliability of social media influencers and the need for rigorous verification, particularly when health advice is disseminated.
While he walks free from the court, the questions surrounding his identity, qualifications, and credibility remain unanswered.