|Welcome to SAnews.gov.za, the gateway to quick and fresh government news and information|
|Home | Today's stories | This week's stories | Last week's stories | Other Features | International News | User policy|
Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System|
Date: 15 May 2012
Title: Facebook users urged to be vigilant
Pretoria - Facebook users should be more cautious when using the social networking forum to avoid becoming victims of crime, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga, has warned.
He cautioned Facebook users against accepting faceless individuals as friends or posting provocative pictures on the social networking site.
"I am not in any way criticising Facebook as I'm also a member but urging users to be more vigilant because these crimes can be prevented... it is clear that our people are not vigilant at all and continue to be reckless by generously accepting friends whose identity is questionable and may have all the features of unsavoury characters," Mhaga said.
Young women, due to their naivety and curiosity, were increasingly finding themselves falling victim to criminals who were taking advantage of Facebook to lure their targets.
"I urge young women to refrain from posting their semi-naked pictures on Facebook as some people have pervert tendencies and can do anything possible to get close to the person and one becomes a statistic," he warned.
Citing the recent case of Thabo Bester - the man dubbed the "Facebook rapist" because he used the social networking forum to lure women to meet him - Mhaga said that South Africans were tired of watching police collect the lifeless bodies of women who had been raped and killed.
Bester was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment for the raping and robbing two models and is facing charges of murdering another model.
"Police can only do so much in investigating crime but only do so after it has been committed and it is our responsibility to prevent it by remembering how important human life is."
It was not easy for prosecutors to order an inquest on a murder case docket if police could not find the perpetrator of a gruesome murder, Mhaga said.
He called on parents and guardians to screen children and teenagers' use of the internet and social network sites.
"Parents and guardians have a responsibility to monitor the content of their children's cellular phones as they have easy access to internet and can easily download explicit material that they circulate - tempting them to experiment with adults and their peers. There is no legal impediment in our Constitution that makes this an infringement of your children's rights."
Mhaga also urged owners of social networks to take action to help prevent crimes through this medium.
"In view of experts recently warning that Facebook crime is soaring in its various malicious forms, the owners should design Facebook crime prevention measures to overcome the challenge faced by law enforcement.
"They should educate people on the purpose of using social networking and the potential evils because surely their profits must come with social responsibility," he suggested. - BuaNews