A woman who went on social media to slam Shireen Essop and make allegations against her family has been forced to apologise after the family took legal action.
The family has also warned social media users who are claiming that the Primrose mom lied about being kidnapped to stop slandering her, or face criminal charges.
The return of the 32-year-old, who was allegedly kidnapped last month was met with mixed reactions by Capetonians, some who questioned whether the ordeal was real or staged.
Shireen, who works at Dairy Mart in Philippi, went missing on 23 May after leaving work in her white Toyota Quest along Varkensvlei Road.
While her car was later found abandoned, she had disappeared without a trace.
A post shared on social media by her relatives said that she had been kidnapped and provided contact numbers, but the family declined to comment further.
Three weeks later, Shireen was found at the Klipfontein Mission Station by neighbourhood watch patrollers who contacted her family.
Her family issued a brief statement confirming she had been found, but many members of the public demanded more details about Shireen’s disappearance, which had sparked fears that a kidnapping syndicate was targeting women in Cape Town.
One TikTok user known as maznoena1 caused a stir with her video in which she claimed the kidnapping was a hoax.
In the video, that was shared over 4000 times, she claimed: “Shireen wasn’t kidnapped because Shireen was seen getting out of her vehicle and willingly got into another vehicle.
“Then Shireen went missing for three weeks but Shireen was found in Durban. The reason why she left is because Shireen and her brother had a disagreement.
“They had a moerse argument in regards to the father giving the business to the son instead of her. En toe plan sy gou ‘n ransom.”
But on Sunday she was forced to make another video, this time to apologise after the family lawyer contacted her directly.
@maznoena1 A formal apology to Shireen and her family #foryoupage❤️❤️ #fypシ゚viral #foryoupage #greenscreen ♬ original sound - Masnoena
“I would like to retract every information given in my previous video. It wasn’t my place. I should have just kept my thoughts, I should have just kept the information to myself,” she said.
In a letter circulated by Shireen’s lawyer, Dawood Jaffer, he calls on the public to refrain from posting or circulating unsubstantiated information regarding his client.
He further demands that videos, which cannot be backed up with proof, be removed from whichever platform they were posted on.
“Should anyone who has posted defamatory and/or derogatory content fail to timeously act, we have been instructed to proceed against those who continue to infringe on our client’s dignity,” the statement read.
“We would like to bring it to the attention of the public, for those who are unaware, that posting of comments and/or videos, which harm the dignity of our client, which comments are untrue and unsubstantiated, are actionable in court via civil proceedings, and possibly, where requirements are met, a criminal charge of crimen injuria, via criminal prosecution.”
He added at this stage the family cannot divulge any information regarding Shireen’s kidnapping, as it is an ongoing investigation.