South Africa

Stop being so bis, respect the family

In short, what I think about the supposed drama around Shireen Essop is that mense is net bis.

The 32-year-old is finally back home with her husband and two-year-old child, after having been missing for three weeks.

Police are expecting more arrests, after catching a man in possession of her stolen cellphone.

And since her return, there has been an undercurrent of suspicion with loaded comments, insinuations and outright accusations of a cover-up by the family.

People say they need to know the truth, so they can protect themselves against abductions. That is a whole lot of rubbish in my opinion.

I don’t claim to know the truth, but what I do know is that the family has said that police have asked them not to comment on any details while the investigation is ongoing.

That makes perfect sense to me.

If there is indeed some kidnapping syndicate at work, then isn’t it best for us to allow them to do their work and bust the entire operation?

HOLD ON: Leave the cops to uncover a possible syndicate

If the family shares details, then it may jeopardise the investigation by tipping off the kidnappers, continuing to place people in harm’s way.

And isn’t that what you are supposedly wanting to prevent, by demanding the family spill the beans? That is why I am saying that people are just plain bis.

I am also curious about what happened, but I am prepared to wait for the police to do their work.

And if Shireen was indeed kidnapped and held captive for three weeks, then she is surely still dealing with a lot of post-traumatic stress and may not be willing to relive the ordeal just yet.

I appreciate that there is a lot of anxiety in our communities about abductions, but a lot of it is unfounded and fuelled by irresponsible social media stories.

What we need is level heads and patience, so that we don’t make reckless accusations that can lead to tragedy, as it did in the case of Abongile Mafalala.

It is very encouraging to see that the SAPS is taking kidnappings seriously.

They now have the Crime Intelligence National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team working nationally and the Kidnapping Unit working in the Western Cape.

I have been warning about an obvious increase over the past two years or so, and if the SAPS don’t solve more of these cases quickly, then I fear a sense of impunity will cause it to get worse.

As for the rumours, I get the sense that some people only cared about Shireen’s story for the sensational value of it.

I suspect that while she was still missing, people shared posts not because they cared about the human life involved, but rather to satisfy their own morbid curiosity.

While those behind the posters were seriously worried for Shireen’s well-being and desperate to find her alive, others may just have been sitting on the sidelines, popcorn in hand awaiting a juicy conclusion.

And now that she’s home, but they don’t know the exact details, it has been an anti-climax for them.

Which would explain why some people just can’t let go of the continuous insinuations.

We all need to calm the flip down and wait for the details to come out in the court cases, before drawing any conclusions.

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