Arrested 'terrorist' not our employee, says Sanral

Sanral staff members after they were evacuated at the Central Operations Centre on January 26 2014 in Midrand. (Gallo)

Sanral staff members after they were evacuated at the Central Operations Centre on January 26 2014 in Midrand. (Gallo)

Sanral insisted on Thursday that a man arrested in connection with threats against the company was technically not one of its employees.

South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) spokesperson Vusi Mona said the building where the man was arrested was occupied by Electronic Toll Collection (ETC).

"And the individual arrested works for a service provider on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and is not a Sanral employee, as has been mistakenly reported," he said in a statement.

"The arrest should send a message that while peaceful protest is every citizen's right, actions like threatening that a bomb is on the premises or any other hoax is a serious offence."

He applauded the Hawks for arresting the Soweto man. "We strongly condemn such actions. The swift police action is an indication of how seriously such hoaxes are seen," said Mona.

The 28-year-old man was accused of involvement in two white powder scares and a bomb scare at Sanral headquarters in the past two weeks.
"We are convinced that we netted the mastermind behind all three incidents," Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said on Thursday.

Ramaloko earlier announced in a statement: "Yesterday afternoon [Wednesday], the Organised Crime Unit of the Hawks in Gauteng arrested a 28-year-old employee of Sanral on charges relating to acts of terrorism.

"The man was arrested at Sanral's central operations centre in Centurion while on duty. During his arrest a cellphone, suspected of having been an instrument used to commit the offence, was seized," Ramaloko said.

The man was tracked down through a call made from his cellphone. "We linked him via his cellphone which was used to make a call. We are not sure if he was operating the cellphone alone," said Ramaloko.

The bomb scare took place on Sunday. The building was evacuated and a sweep carried out. No bomb was found. The premises were also evacuated on Tuesday and Friday after a suspicious powder, initially feared to be anthrax, was found. ETC later reported that the substance was harmless.

The man was expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday on charges relating to acts of terrorism. – Sapa

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