An authentic looking document has been making the rounds on social media platforms and as usual, people reacted to it by forwarding it to all contacts on their WhatsApp list or on Facebook. You never know if it is the same scenario as the little boy who cried wolf too many times.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has learnt with concern of a fake news story based on a document purporting to emanate from the SAPS. The document alleges inter alia that there will be land grabs, riots and plundering from 18 April, building up to a strike by all major unions on 25 April.
The story, which has gone viral on “WhatsApp” and social media suggests that these acts of lawlessness will take place in major cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria as well as other cities throughout the country. It alleges that roads, highways will be blocked and those who will not be participating in the strike will be threatened, intimidated, hurt or even be killed.
The SAPS can state categorically that this is not an authentic SAPS document and the allegations made in the said letter are false and misleading.
Such misinformation is reckless, irresponsible and unacceptable. These utterances are clearly aimed at causing alarm and fear and should be condemned in the strongest possible way. It is an utter disregard for the law.
Social media is a helpful platform for both community and the police. However, hoaxes, fake news and dissemination of false information not only sows panic amongst our communities but also wastes the police’s time and resources.
The SAPS calls on all who have published, seen or received the hoax document to ignore it and to refrain from sharing or disseminating false information.