Claims of land grabs‚ riots and plunder are "fake news": SAPS

18 April 2018 - 14:58 By Timeslive Reporter
SAPS gun. File photo
SAPS gun. File photo
Image: Gallo Images

A letter circulating on social media claiming that “land grabs”‚ “riots” and “plunder” would take place from Wednesday is completely fake.

So said the South African Police Service (SAPS) in a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon.

“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 April18 ‚ building up to a strike by all major unions on April 25.

“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‚” the police statement reads.

The letter - which has been widely spread on messaging platform WhatsApp - claims that the “main focus of this terror” would be Johannesburg‚ Pretoria and “all major cities in SA”.

“Many highways and roads will be blocked off so please make sure you have the basics at home and that you are well prepared‚” it states.

Then‚ in full capital letters‚ the letter - purporting to be from a “Captain BZ Maluleke” - shouts: “DO NOT BE ON THE ROAD IF YOU DO NOT HAVE TO.”

But SAPS spokesman Lieutenant Katlego Mogale slated not just at whoever penned the fake letter‚ but also those circulating it.

“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 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‚” he said.

Mogale said that anyone who has seen‚ published or received the hoax document to ignore it and “refrain from sharing or disseminating false information”.