South Africa beefs up Security in view of Terror threats

Published on : Tuesday, June 7, 2016

South AfricaShopping malls in South Africa have beefed up security after Western intelligence agencies warned of a “high threat” of a terrorist attack on places which are visited frequently by foreign visitors.

The advisory warned that “attacks could be indiscriminate, including places visited by foreigners such as shopping malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said, adding that British citizens were targets because of the country’s involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

American, Canadian and now British citizens living in the country or visiting have been issued advisories recently warning that the attacks could coincide with the month of Ramadan and be motivated by a global call to action by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The American government said the “near-term” attacks facing South Africa could focus on “upscale shopping areas and malls” in the country’s two biggest cities during Ramadan.

As a result, both visible and covert security has been stepped up at well- known tourist destinations including the newly-opened Mall of Africa outside Johannesburg, the designer brand-heavy shopping mall of Sandton City and Cape Town’s Victoria and Albert Waterfront, visited in December by Prince Harry as part of a regional tour.

South Africa, whose population is 1.5 per cent Muslim, has long been a transit point for terror groups because of its patchy intelligence and police networks and populous and impenetrable townships.

Those known to have spent time in the country include Samantha Lewthwaite, the so-called White Widow of one of the London July 7 suicide bombers who is on Interpol’s “most wanted” list because of her links to the Somali terror group al-Shabaab.

Like most African nations, a small number of South Africans are believed to have travelled north to fight with Isil.

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One Response to South Africa beefs up Security in view of Terror threats

  1. Malls have stepped up security but most South Africans think it’s a load of hogwash. Similar warnings were made in the past but nothing happened. Here’s a recent statement from the minister of tourism:

    Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has reassured travellers to South Africa, following a terror alert issued by the US Embassy in Pretoria to its citizens at the weekend.

    Minister Hanekom said he was confident that South Africa’s security services remain vigilant and are doing everything within their power to keep all areas of the country safe.

    “The alerts issued periodically by other governments to their citizens around the world as a standard precautionary measure have been noted,” said Minister Hanekom.

    “We can understand that alerts of this nature may cause anxiety and fear amongst some travellers and members of the trade who want to advise their clients responsibly. Tourists to South Africa should be aware that our security services are working with their counterparts in countries around the world on these concerns, and are liaising closely with our business community to secure the safety of our citizens and visitors.”

    Minister Hanekom encouraged the travel industry to continue to take due care in the normal course of business.
    Yesterday (May 6, 2016), State Security Minister David Mahlobo said in a statement on the US alert: “We remain a strong and stable democratic country and there is no immediate danger posed by the alert”.

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