Bheki Cele warns his social media impostors

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Police Minister Bheki Cele. Photo: Nigel Sibanda
Police Minister Bheki Cele has issued a warning to the numerous social media users with accounts purporting to be him and dishing out abundant messages to the public, to desist.

“Minister Cele has denounced any social media account in his name as fake and has issued a stern warning to impostors whose motives for impersonating the minister cannot be for anything else but to draw unsuspecting social media users into their criminal activities,” said Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

Peters, the acting national police spokesperson, said the police were tracking the impostors.

“Investigations by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) currently under way [are] at an advanced stage to identify and locate these fake account operators, and bring them to book,” Peters said.

She said the fake accounts bearing Cele’s name and pictures have grown in popularity, with one on Twitter attracting more than 60 000 followers.

“There are at this stage, more than 160 accounts across Twitter and Facebook bearing as profiles, pictures of Minister Cele and his particulars, with some pictures as old as about 10 years when the minister was still the national commissioner of the South African Police Service.

“One such account has just under 60,000 followers who wrongfully believe that they are following and interacting with Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, which is not the case,” Peters said.

“It is worth noting that a number of crimes have been solved through tip-offs and through confidential information provided telephonically to Minister Cele by members of the public.

“It is on this same principle that some citizens who are active on social media, may want to share similar anonymous tip-offs, only for such information to fall into the wrong hands of these impostors.”

She said that poses a risk on the personal safety and the lives of law abiding citizens whose intention would be to work and collaborate with the police on crime prevention and combating.

“The ministry of police confirms that Cele is neither registered as a user, nor active on any social media platform whatsoever, and further wishes to advise members of the public that all official communication on matters of the ministry of police will be communicated accordingly by this office through official SAPS channels,” Peters said.

African News Agency