The social media post alleging that a woman was arrested and then gang-raped in a holding cell at Mamelodi police station is untrue and “reckless”, as the incident did not happen, police have said.
According to the social media message, which went viral on Tuesday morning, a lesbian was recently arrested for public drinking and held in a cell with 19 men. The woman was allegedly gang-raped and died in hospital on Tuesday.
However, all of this is “completely untrue”, “irresponsible” and “insensitive” towards the police and the community, says spokesperson Brigadier Mashadi Selepe.
“It undermines the trust of the community in the police. We are urgently looking into this social media post to get to the source. The incident is viewed in a very serious light and the police will consider legal action on this matter,” she said.
Selepe urged social media users to post responsibly and sensibly, as such communication spreads instantaneously.
“Users of social media must carefully consider the truthfulness of information before they decide to share it with other social media users. According to South African law, it does not require a person to be the originator of the content of a communication to be held liable. The repeating or sharing a post is sufficient.”
Social media users can equally be liable for sharing another person’s post “where that person knows that they have been tagged in the other person’s post, allows their name to be used, and fails to take steps to dissociate or distance themselves from that post,” Selepe added.