The South African Police Service in the Tshwane North Cluster has noted with concern an increasing alarm of false posts on social media about a Toyota Quantum which is purported to be targeting and kidnapping schoolchildren around the cluster's policing precinct.
As a service, we appreciate the use of social media which is an important tool to communicate, share news and exchange ideas within a short space of time. We however, discourage falsehoods and the dissemination of fake news, unconfirmed reports and hoaxes which led to an unnecessary panic within our communities.
This peddling of fake rumours are disturbing to the SAPS, children and the parents alike where a case in point, parents rushed in numbers to a school in Soshanguve to fetch their children and ended up disrupting half yearly examinations. It also puts a strain on tax payers' money through an unnecessary use of state resources and time for something that is non-existent.
We would like to state on the record that no case of kidnapping of children from any school has been opened or investigated at the following police stations falling under the Tshwane North Cluster; Akasia, Dube, Ga-Rankuwa, Hammanskraal, Loate, Mabopane, Pretoria North, Rietgat, Soshanguve and Temba. Teaching and learning has been running smooth except for the panic that was created by the fake news on social media.
This reckless use of social media is diverting our attention from the constitutional imperative of combating crime and has a potential to sow divisions within communities. We therefore urge all social media users to refrain from participating from these unfounded, malicious and baseless rumour mill making the rounds.
We also urge community members and schoolchildren to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times, and we commit to the inhabitants of South Africa that we shall continue to protect and serve them with utmost pride. Let us work together and keep our communities safe and free from crime.