A flurry of social media posts claiming the fatal shooting of an Indian man was linked to the recent multiple murders in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal, is fake news, say police.
In a statement on Saturday, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said there had neither been a shooting incident of this nature, nor had there been a shooting that occurred recently in the vicinity quoted by the said social media posts.
“In relation to the Phoenix murders, police can confirm that eight suspects have thus far been arrested. One suspect has already appeared in court and his case remanded to 16 August 2021, while the other seven suspects are expected to appear before court on Monday, 26 July 2021,” Muridili said.
She added that some of the suspects were allegedly connected to more than one murder case, while others were expected to face charges relating to attempted murder, malicious damage to property, and defeating the ends of justice.
The police were not ruling out more arrests related to the Phoenix murders as detectives were working around the clock on the case. According to Muridili, social media users had been cautioned to refrain from circulating and spreading inflammatory messages that sought to incite violence and fuel tension among communities.
“The incessant spreading of such fake and malicious posts will not be taken lightly. In this regard, at least five suspects have in the past week been arrested in different parts of the country for recording or creating inflammatory messages and circulating them on social media, with the intention of spurring up violence.
Police have been ordered to look into these messages and find the perpetrators behind them.”
Members of the public should continue to report crime and criminals by calling the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or via the MySAPS app that can be downloaded onto any smartphone.