Former President Nelson Mandela was at the centre of scary health rumours and warnings of racial attacks in the event of his death yesterday.
While some messages claimed he had suffered a stroke, others warned that his death would spark attacks on whites.
Yesterday his spokesman, Zelda le Grange, dismissed the rumours and said Mandela was doing well and resting with his wife, Graca Machel, in Mozambique.
Police said the warnings to whites that blacks would attack them when Mandela died were without substance.
Director Sally de Beer, a spokesman in the office of National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi, said the messages also incited whites to prepare to congregate at pre-identified "safe areas" and defend themselves.
"The SAPS states emphatically that the contents of the messages are malicious, scurrilous and without any foundation or substance whatsoever" said De Beer.
She said the messages had been sent by e-mail and SMSes.
"The messages form part of a disinformation campaign and publicity stunt by a group known as the Suidlanders under the leadership of one Gustav Muller," she said.
"Those behind this insensitive and repulsive campaign are clearly not acting in the best interests of the country.
"Their actions are apparently intended to incite racial intolerance and hysteria among the inhabitants of South Africa.
"He is enjoying some peaceful quality time by the side of his wife away from the pressures in Johannesburg.
"We communicate with him almost daily and he is in good spirits.
"We reassure the public that we will not be irresponsible if ever it becomes necessary for us to alert them to any matters relating to Mr Mandela, but at the same time we urge the public not to pay attention to rumours or pursue them."
Le Grange said Mandela's office had been aware of the e-mails for a number of months.
"Despite our attempts to dismiss these, they continue to surface and circulate," she said. - Sapa