SA lashes out over terror alerts

The South African government has lashed out at the US, UK and Australian governments for warning of an impending terrorist attack on its citizens in South Africa.

The government, in a statement, accused the three foreign powers of attempting to influence and control its counter-terrorism work. It also accused the three powers of trying to “generate perceptions of government ineptude, alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable single source.”

The government added that while it took the terrorist threats seriously, it was not happy with the way that the US and the UK issued their warnings.

“As part of their work, our security agencies are in constant liaison with foreign intelligence services represented in South Africa. Their work includes information exchanges on threats presented by violent extremism and terrorism.

“South Africa as a sovereign peace loving country has always adopted a professional manner in engaging with other countries on these issues. We are, therefore displeased with the manner in which some countries have reciprocated. Their actions have been disingenuous and a cause for serious concern to our government.

“The information provided as a basis for the latest terror alerts on South Africa has been found to be very sketchy. On closer examination, we have found the information to be dubious, unsubstantiated and provided by a “walk-in” source based on questionable conclusions.

“It is within this context that the South African government rejects attempts by foreign countries to influence, manipulate or control our country’s counter terrorism work. We reject attempts to generate perceptions of government ineptude, alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable single source.”

The government added that it was fully capable of securing the country against terrorist threats.

It said that it also expected the foreign embassies in the country to follow the proper channels when communicating these matters. The government said that it had registered a protest with the embassies over their actions.

“To this end, the South African government has demarched the affected embassies to register our displeasure with the manner in which the matter was handled,” the government said.

“Government wishes to reiterate that the security of all people in South Africa remains its top priority. The security services will continue to remain vigilant at all times. Should the need arise, the South African government will be the first to inform the public about any eminent threat.”