Cabinet has rejected speculation about former president Nelson Mandela's health and called on the media not to give undue prominence to such "malicious messages".
Communications head Themba Maseko said government had noted reports of hoax e-mails and SMSes regarding Mandela's health.
"These irresponsible messages predict racial conflict in the event of Madiba's passing away," he said.
Maseko repeated that there was no truth to the speculation about Mandela's health.
As was the case with all public figures, the public would be informed of such matters through official channels and without delay.
The principles Mandela stood for were enshrined in the constitution and enjoyed the unqualified support of government and the majority of South Africans.
"We call upon the media not to give these malicious messages undue prominence or credence, as this only plays into mischievous hands.
"Government has every confidence that the majority in every sector of South African society would not allow a few individuals to deflect them from the irreversible progress we are making in building a united nation," Maseko said.
South African Police Service has already called on the public to ignore the Mandela campaign. - Sapa