Check your facts before you post on social media, warn SAPS

THE South African Police Service (SAPS) has noted with great concern the recent spike in video clips on various social media platforms which have depicted cases of child kidnappings and abduction. The police have, since these postings started going viral, been trying to confirm if these incidents actually occurred in any part of South Africa.

Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo from SAPS said no evidence suggests firstly that these incidents happened in South Africa and secondly, that these incidents are actually legitimate.

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“By now, besides reporting this to the police, one would have expected at least a family would have come forward to publicly confirm at least one of those videos to be legitimate. Secondly the police will never know that these incidents really happened if they are not officially reported. Therefore the only reasonable conclusion we can draw from this is that these videos are hoaxes,” he said.

Naidoo said some of these videos might even be re-enactments as they are conveniently taken in a way that neither the location nor any other can be ascertained.

“We are appealing to social media users to act responsibly and verify information before sharing posts. These posts do nothing more than cause unnecessary panic and paranoia among our communities,” said Naidoo.

He said social media, when utilised responsibly, is an important communication platform that assists the police in combatting crime and arresting criminals.

“The SAPS assures the community that continuous awareness and educational talks on the safety of our children are done at various institutions including schools. While the recent social media postings remain unconfirmed, it is a reality that children do go missing. Therefore, parents and guardians are urged to exercise vigilance at all times,” he said.

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An urgent appeal is made to people in instances where they suspect a crime may have been committed or anything suspicious has occurred to contact the police first to verify such information. In cases where children are involved, the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) may be contacted as well as the sector manager of a particular area.

“Discuss your concerns and let us together make informed decisions before posting on social media,” said Naidoo.
The community may call the police’s Crime Stop number on 08600 10111. All information received will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.



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