The South African Police Service refutes stories of arson as the cause of this month’s fires in the Western and Eastern Cape.
The police urge people to stop spreading fake news.
The SAPS is refuting messages circulating on social media & WhatsApp: Fake news & misinformation on #CapeFires
Here is the official statement sent to St Francis Chronicle, which queried the stories with the cops. The statement is also on the South African Police Service FB page:
“Various fake news reports are being spread on social media and WhatsApp and are posing a huge threat on efforts to relieve and successfully counter the situation caused by the devastating fires in Knysna.
Rumours and fake news are currently doing the rounds that two people with petrol cans had been arrested in connection with the fires in George and the surrounding areas are utterly false and unfounded. No arrests in this regard have been made .
This same voice note alleges involvement of the two “suspects” in the devastating fires from Knysna to Port Elizabeth. This is also not true.
Further rumours indicating the hi-jacking of delivery trucks that delivers humanitarian relieve packages to Knysna is also untrue.
The validity of all these rumours has been verified and found to be fake news.
We appeal to social media users to revert from this practice as it creates further unnecessary panic and chaos in a situation where resources are already stretched to its limits.
We have increased visibility on the main and exit routes to and from Knysna where SAPS and Traffic; both local and provincial officials are monitoring this route to ensure safety of all road users and the public in general.”