The hashtag #FindSimphiwe was trending on social media after a woman posted that she had been hijacked and stuffed in the boot of her car. However, it was all an alleged hoax and the 28-year-old woman has been arrested.
On Thursday the woman kept giving updates on social media about what’s happening to her, saying the hijackers took her cellphone before stuffing her in the boot but they were not aware of a second phone she had on her.
It's scary, she is crying out for help. I pray that we all unite for her safety 🙏😭💔. LORD PLEASE PROTECT HER AND BRING HER BACK TO HER FAMILY IN GOOD HEALTH AND ALIVE. #findsimphiwe pic.twitter.com/8jLxCNVrik
— Noluthando Lerato Hadebe (@NoluthandoLera9) May 19, 2021
Social media users soon responded and helped spread awareness with #findsimphiwe. The search intensified when she posted that the men are now arguing about having sex with her.
— robertmarawa (@robertmarawa) May 20, 2021
She later said that she has scissors with her and that “whatever happens I was trying to protect myself”
— chun swae. (@girl_kaybee) May 19, 2021
Several South African celebrities jumped on the hashtag and used their platforms with the hopes of saving the young woman. She was later found and posted a message and video in which she thanked South Africans for their prayers and helping to locate her.
Woman arrested on charges of perjury after quick plot twist emerges
However, in a quick turn of events, on Friday the SAPS released a statement saying that the 28-year-old woman had been arrested on charges of perjury, defeating the ends of justice and fraud. She had allegedly reported a false hijacking at the Protea Glen Police office in Soweto.
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said, “In her statement given under oath to the police, the suspect described how on Wednesday evening, 19 May 2021, her vehicle was taken by unknown men in Mohlakeng, Randfontein, who put her inside the boot and drove around with her for the better part of the evening,”.
“After police from different provinces including Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North West noted a string of social media posts about the said kidnapping and hijacking, an urgent search party was activated and maximum resources mobilised to track the vehicle and find the ‘victim’,” he said.
According to Masondo, a team comprised of senior detectives, members of crime intelligence and other police response units, had “worked throughout the night to locate the ‘hijacked woman’, but had “swiftly established discrepancies in the supposed victim’s statement”.
He said, “It emerged on a further probe that the said hijacking and kidnapping report was false and this was subsequently corroborated by the woman’s confession that she was never kidnapped. Police confiscated the car of the suspect that she alleged was hijacked and her two cellphones, including the one she claimed, was taken by the ‘hijackers’,”.
The motive behind the alleged false hijacking is still unclear and the woman was due in court on Friday.