By Augustine Ehikioya
Worried by false alarms, the Limpopo Provincial Commissioner of Police, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, has warned communities to desist from reporting false cases of missing persons.
The false alarms had been requiring deployment of more Police resources to conduct search operations in a wasteful manner.
This was disclosed in a statement by Colonel Malesela Ledwaba of the South African Police Service, Office of the Provincial Commissioner Limpopo, and made available to Security Watch Africa (SWA).
It stated “As the number of reported cases of missing persons continue to escalate across the Province, which require deployment of more Police resources to conduct search operations, the Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has issued a stern warning to community members who continue to report false cases.”
Citing a case in point, the statement said “This comes after the Police in Hlogotlou opened missing person file on 06 January, 2023 at about 17:00hrs following a report that a woman left the kids at home on 31 December, 2022 during the day, informing her aunt that she was going to visit her boyfriend at Roosenekal and never came back.
“Soon after the matter was reported to the Police, a search operation was immediately launched around Roosenekal which even extended to Dullstroon in Mpumalanga Province.
“Social media platforms were also used to report her missing. While still searching, the woman called her family and informed them that she is not missing as reported on social media platforms.
“She also promised them that she will come back home the following week. The Police managed to speak to her and she confirmed that she never disappeared and that Police must stop wasting State resources trying to locate her as she is not missing.”
The statement added that a case of missing person is very serious and is treated as a priority at every Police Station in order to save the lives of many people.
“If people report false cases and we divert our resources in search of those people, Police efforts to fight crime could be negatively impacted,” said Lieutenant General Hadebe.
The statement also urged community members to inform family members when visiting friends or relatives as “failure to do so, panic will kick in and they will be reported missing.”