The South African Police Service (SAPS) has issued a warning to the public about recent posts on various social media platforms which have depicted cases of child kidnappings and abductions.
In a statement, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said they are calling social media users to verify information before posting and sharing.
“When utilized responsibly, social media is an important communication platform that assists the police in combating crime and arresting criminals. Verify information before posting or sharing as such posts do nothing more than cause unnecessary panic and paranoia among our communities,” said Muridili.
She added that there were recent videos depicting child kidnappings and abduction circulating on social media, however no one has reported the incidencies to the police.
“Since these postings started going viral, the police have been trying to confirm if those depictions did or did not occur in any part of South Africa. To this day, there is no evidence that suggests that these incidents happened in SA or that these incidents are actually legitimate.”
“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. The police will never know that these incidents really happened if they are not officially reported,” she said.
Muridili urged the parents and guardians to exercise vigilance at all times as children do go missing. She said the SAPS holds continuous awareness talks on child safety at various institutions including schools.
“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,” she said.
Members of the community may call the police’s Crime Stop number, 08600 10111 and all information received will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.