An angry crowd gathered around the frightened woman’s car near the Shoprite Centre in Mfuleni Main Road on Tuesday night.
The lady was saved by cops at a nearby satellite police station after a mob tried to “kill” her, sources say.
Cops closed the gates to the centre’s parking area to keep the violent mob out.
Police have placed the blame for the “near tragic” incident squarely on hoax social media posts about a kidnapping syndicate.
Police spokesperson Constable Jonathan Filander says: “Police dealt with a situation where a white female who was stranded in the area was accused by community members of being an alleged kidnapper, probably due to the recent social media posts being circulated.”
Images of a crowd surrounding a vehicle were posted on Facebook on Tuesday night, stating that kidnappers were arrested in Mfuleni.
But Filander says this was not true.
“The situation did however spark some tension in the area and in the process vehicles and property were damaged. Cases of malicious damage to property are being investigated,” says Filander.
Meanwhile, the woman accused of working for a kidnapping syndicate, after taking photos of two girls in Somerset Mall, has laid charges against the mom who posted her photo on Facebook.
Police confirmed a charge of crimen injuria is being investigated against mom Antoinette Dyers Swanepoel.
Swanepoel removed the post, but it was shared more than 28 000 times.
The unidentified woman, questioned by cops, claims she’s a street photographer, and was taking photos of the sun streaming through the roof onto people in the mall.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk says: “The person implicated in the matter has reported to police and submitted a statement. The case docket has been referred to the court for a decision regarding possible prosecution.”
Cops have confirmed only two cases of alleged child abduction, in Strand and Ceres, and urge mense to stop circulating the hoax posts.