/ 6 June 2016

Government on US terror alert: No need to panic

David Mahlobo was sworn in as minister of state security this year.
David Mahlobo was sworn in as minister of state security this year.

South Africa’s State Security Department on Monday finally broke its silence regarding the United States Embassy’s warning of a possible terror attack on Americans visiting the country.

According to Minister David Mahlobo, there was no need to panic, at least not yet: “We remain a strong and stable democratic country and there is no immediate danger posed by the alert”. 

Mahlobo acknowledged that it was the duty of South African security forces to “ensure that all people within our territory are and feel safe”. 

The department’s spokesperson Brian Fikani Dube added that the South African government noted the terror alert, a “standard precautionary communication”. 

“The security services of the country have liaised with the Americans on the concerns they have and these engagements will continue as part of the ongoing work,” said Dube. 

“The security services will continue to work on matters of violent extremism and terrorism among others and ensure the safety of all citizens and residents.” 

The alert was issued on Saturday and warned of possible terror attacks on Americans and American establishments in South Africa during the holy month of Ramadan.

Embassy statement
The US government has received information that terrorist groups are planning to carry out attacks against places where its citizens congregate in shopping areas in South Africa, its embassy said on Saturday.

“This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State group’s public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadan,” it said in a statement posted on its website.

It singled out upmarket shopping areas and malls in the commercial hub of Johannesburg and Cape Town, widely regarded as South Africa’s tourism capital, as the main target areas. The South African Police Service declined to comment and said they were studying the US embassy statement.

This is not the first such warning from the US government, which also issued an alert in 2015. – African News Agency (ANA)