Johannesburg – The 28-year-old Gauteng woman who was arrested for a fake hijacking and kidnapping saga, which was played out on social media, will spend the weekend behind bars, police said on Friday.
She was due to appear before the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Friday. However, SAPS have since issued an update, saying that the matter has since been moved to the Randfontein Magistrates Court, where she is expected to appear on Monday.
The woman faces charges of perjury, defeating the ends of justice and fraud for allegedly taking to social media on Wednesday night to publicise a hijacking which allegedly never happened.
She was arrested on Thursday afternoon after she presented herself to the Protea Glen Police Station where she opened a case of hijacking, which police said was fake.
The woman had posted numerous messages on Facebook, claiming she was on the verge of being raped and that she was being allegedly kidnapped by would-be criminals who shoved her in the boot of her Toyota Corolla during a “hijacking”.
She had purportedly been posting the messages on her Facebook profile from the boot of her car.
She allegedly confessed to police that the hijacking and kidnapping was fake and that she was actually at home when she posted the messages.
Thousands of people had shared the woman’s apparent ordeal on social media, commenting out of concern as calls for the woman to be found reverberated on Thursday morning.
Gauteng police spokesperson, Captain Mavela Masondo, said the woman gave a statement under oath, where she repeated her claims that she had made on Facebook.
“A team under the leadership of West Rand District Commissioner Major General Fred Kekana, comprising of senior detectives, members of crime intelligence and other police response units, that worked throughout the night to locate the hijacked woman; swiftly established discrepancies in the supposed victim’s statement.
“It emerged on further probe that the said hijacking and kidnapping report was false and this was subsequently corroborated by the woman’s confession that she was never kidnapped,” said Masondo.
The woman’s car and two cellphones have been seized by the police.
In one of her apparent fake posts, she posted:
“I just been hijacked. I’m in the boot of my car. They took my other phone thinking I have one. I’ll update you till I’m no more… (sic),” she posted, tagging her location as Mohlakeng, a township in Randfontein, West Rand.
The posts went viral on social media and on early Thursday morning, the woman posted a video where she claimed she was safe.
In another post, she posted: “The car has stopped they fighting in on who is going to have sex with me… (sic),” she posted.
About seven minutes earlier, the woman had posted her car registration numbers: “XXXXXX-GP my number plate… if I die,” she said.
She also slammed the police, saying: “SAPS is nonsense. I could have lost my life today”.
The women has been condemned by Police Minister Bheki Cele and Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, who welcomed the arrest and commended the police. He said the officers paid thorough attention to detail and were able to swiftly poke holes in the woman’s false report.
“Members of the public are cautioned to refrain from reporting false cases pushing police to deploy resources that should rather be channelled at combating genuine serious and violent crimes,” said Mawela.