Phindile Kunene simphiwe mtimande johannesburg hijacked found gbv kidnapping

Photo: Facebook/Simphiwe Manzini Mtimande

Fake hijacking: Gauteng woman released on bail after kidnapping ‘hoax’

A Gauteng woman who sent out fake alerts that she had been hijacked and kidnapped last week appeared in court on Monday charged with perjury.

Phindile Kunene simphiwe mtimande johannesburg hijacked found gbv kidnapping

Photo: Facebook/Simphiwe Manzini Mtimande

A Gauteng woman has been released on bail after stunning scenes unfolded last week when she sent out distress calls via her Facebook page claiming she was in the midst of an active hijacking and being held captive in the boot of her car, only for police to later arrest her for having made the whole thing up

Last week, The South African reported on a case where a woman, who used the profile name “Simphiwe Mazini Mtimande” on Facebook claimed to have been hijacked, sparking a massive social media reaction, that mobilised the public to launch the #FindSimphiwe hashtag in a bid to prevent the woman becoming yet another victim of SA’s gender-based violence (GBV) pandemic. 

Woman released on bail after fake hijacking arrest  

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement on Monday 24 May that A 29-year-old woman, Phindile Kunene, had appeared briefly at the Protea Magistrates’ Court charged with contravention of section 9 of the Commissioners of Oath Act – making a false statement under oath.

“The appearance relates to an incident in which she opened a criminal case at Protea Glen SAPS on Thursday, 20 May 2021, alleging that she had been hijacked,” said regional NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.

Kunene was released on R2 000 bail and the matter was postponed to 18 June for further investigation. Mjonondwane could not clarify any further on the matter, saying that the account from which the fake alerts were sent remains under investigation. 

The account has since been deleted after causing enormous uproar from those who had endured a sleepless night trying to spread the word of the horrific crime that they were led to believe was unfolding. 

SA public outraged by callous ‘prank’  

The woman, who was referred to by the name given on her social media account (Simphiwe Manzini Mtimande) by the media and public, is understood to have opened a case at the Protea Glen police station in Gauteng several hours after announcing that she was “safe, spare a few scratches” via her Facebook page. Police then investigated the claims and found that they had been led on a wild goose chase by the woman. 

Kunene’s Facebook red-alerts led to the mobilisation of the South African public, who desperately tried to assist police in finding her by spreading the hashtag #FindSimphiwe as far as possible as she posted “live updates” of her fictitious ordeal.