An Avoca couple are still in shock after being accused of abducting children, following fake reports that rapidly spread throughout the Durban community last week.
According to media reports, the couple who are said to be teachers were anonymously tipped off that they would be attacked.
Facebook went viral with messages alleging the couple to be selling human tissue and kidnapping young girls. The couple who still fear for their lives are on special leave from school. Close friends and family have since rallied around the couple in support and protection from possible attacks.
The couple has since opened a case of intimidation at Greenwood Park SAPS. The fake messages sparked massive panic in the community and resulted in looting, burning and destroying of local shops in KwaMashu and Ntuzuma. Police were also said to have been attacked.
Marshall Security were called in to assist in controlling the situation. “Damage is extensive in the aftermath of violent protests and looting which had the area of Kwamashu in total lockdown. Many foreign owned shops were destroyed in the protests. We were called in after members of the South African Police Services came under heavy fire in the area. Several arrests have been made. While tension in the area remains high, the situation is under control at the moment,” said Marshall Security’s Kyle van Reenen on Monday.
eThekwini Cluster CPF, KZN Acting Provincial Commissioner and Durban Mayor, Zandile Gumede has since asked the community to verify information before sharing.
“It is very disturbing to find that people continue to circulate fake information on social media causing unnecessary panic and fear. Unfortunately there are gullible members in our communities that believe everything they find posted on social media platforms by faceless individuals and who refuse to believe authorities. Even during the last week we have had reports of abductions and hijackings which were found to be untrue. At this stage we are investigating a case that was reported to SAPS where a couple are being accused on social media for being behind these fake abductions,” said Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa.
In a public letter to all eThekwini residents, Mayor Zandile Gumede said, “I am writing this letter to appeal for calm and call on members of the public to refrain from circulating false information that cause unnecessary panic and conflict in communities.”