False accusation on Facebook leads to cop shop petrol bombed, 22-year-old arrested for inciting violence

2019-08-27 22:40
(Getty/Gallo Images)

(Getty/Gallo Images)

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A 22-year-old man is in police custody for allegedly inciting public violence by spreading "lies" that a policeman had killed a teenager in Emzinoni, Bethal, Mpumalanga.

Protesters later set the policeman's house alight.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said Ayanda Khubeka had appeared in the Bethal Magistrate's Court on Monday facing charges of intimidation, crimen injuria and incitement to commit a crime. 

He was remanded pending his next appearance.

Khubeka was arrested on August 22 after he allegedly circulated malicious allegations on Facebook indicating a police officer stationed at Emzinoni police station had shot and killed a 14-year-old during a violent protest which broke out in Emzinoni last week.

"Those false accusations went viral on social media, putting the officer's life in danger. The police are taking these allegations seriously and are calling on the public to refrain from intentionally tainting other people through social media by making false accusations as it is deemed an aggressive act.

"During the protest, residents tried to force the police to release suspects who were arrested earlier for various crimes. When they refused, the residents threw petrol bombs in an attempt to burn down the police station," said Hlathi.

Thirty-five suspects were arrested and later released on R1 500 bail each and are expected back in court on September 5.

Mpumalanga provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma condemned the "unnecessary protests" including the attempt to set the police station alight.

"Not only important infrastructure but any other property belonging to individuals or businesses should not be damaged as such actions are criminal in nature.

"It was also reported that on the very same day when the suspects attempted to set alight the police station they senselessly burned down the house belonging to a police officer and an investigation thereof is also underway.

"As the South African Police Service we are aware of the right that people have to protest, but that should be done within the ambit of the law. Any act of criminality shall be dealt with accordingly without any fear, favour or prejudice," said Zuma.

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Read more on:    mpumalanga  |  protests  |  incitement
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