Hoax callers could face prosecution, police warn

Callers lodging hoax reports to the police could face both criminal prosecution and civil claims for wasted police resources.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the police viewed the pranks in a serious light and anyone caught could find themselves in jail.

The police warning came after two other hoax calls were made on Monday, claiming that there had been two murders, one at the Sakha informal settlement in Mkondeni and another one in the Slangspruit area.

Last week, The Witness reported that a hoax call had been made to police on Wednesday claiming that two children had been abducted from outside Eastwood Primary School.

The call was made to the police emergency service 10111 reporting two of the school’s pupils had been abducted just outside the school by men driving a red Audi.

Mountain Rise police were sent out to investigate, only to return to the station to report that the incident was a hoax.

“The pranksters call the station and report incidents like murder and robbery. They claim there has been a shooting. These are serious crimes and police have to go out to investigate. But when they get to these areas, nobody knows anything about the incident.

“It is a waste of time and resources,” Mbele said.

A police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said false complaints of people being killed or attacked had increased in the Alexandra precinct in the last two months.

Mbele said hoax callers hold up the lines and people with serious problems cannot access the call centre.

She said most of the prank calls were made from pay phones, which made it difficult for police to trace the calls. However, she said some calls were made from home numbers.

“We also want to warn parents that they need to be watchful over their children. If a child is found to be abusing the emergency numbers, which is a criminal offence, they will be dealt with in a court of law.”

“The emergency numbers are for emergency cases only, to help people who need urgent police assistance,” she said.