PRETORIA - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has been asked to explain to Parliament allegations that top secret surveillance of al-Qaeda training camps in South Africa was brought to a halt.
The year-long Daily Maverick investigation established the country’s intelligence services had been monitoring at least three such camps for almost a decade, but shut down the surveillance operation in 2010.
And while a family is believed to be behind the establishment of the camps, it's alleged that the country's security services are turning a blind eye.
While the Hawks did not respond to questions saying they did not comment on ongoing investigations, the Police Ministry has washed its hands of the matter, saying the Hawks must provide clarity.
The Democratic Alliance's Dianne Kohler Barnard said Mthethwa must address Parliament on the allegations.
Meanwhile, the Research And Information Network's Abie Dawjee said the country needed answers.
“South Africa has to clear its name from these serious allegations by showing clearly whether it stopped any investigations relating to terrorism by Muslims. Also, who was it that stopped such an investigation?”
Dawjee has dismissed the article as baseless fear mongering.
DOCKRAT COUSINS IMPLICATED
A prominent South African family has been allegedly identified as key figures in setting up the secret military training camps.
Johannesburg dentist Junaid Ismail Dockrat and his cousin, Farhad Ahmed Dockrat, a Muslim cleric, who were identified as al-Qaeda financiers, recruiters and facilitators in 2007, are believed to be behind at least three military training camps in South Africa.
The year-long investigation by the Daily Maverick revealed inaction by the police despite incriminating evidence about al-Qaeda linked military training camps operating in South Africa and those who set them up.
State intelligence agencies began monitoring the activities soon after the World Trade Centre attack on September 11, 2001 but ceased their surveillance in 2010.
After nearly a decade of top secret surveillance and intelligence gathering, it has emerged that state intelligence has even stopped spying on known military training camps.
The Daily Maverick investigation found the first camp located on the outskirts of Erasmia, east of Pretoria.
In 2007, the camp was then moved to the Greylock Farm in the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range, where barracks were constructed to sleep mostly Pakistani and Malawian recruits.
The local community reported seeing men in camouflage uniforms brandishing assault rifles.
It is believed the Dockrat cousins have also bought a 70 percent stake in the Tsitsikamma Coastal Golf Estate.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now red-flagged the area as a potential terrorist hotspot.
Both Dockrats have dismissed the Tsitsikamma claims saying they emanate from a disgruntled former employee.
The Hawks declined to explain why their operation was halted, saying they do not comment on ongoing investigations.
Meanwhile, United States and British intelligence agencies regard South Africa as an international terrorist halfway house.
For nearly a decade South Africa's intelligence agencies had been spying on Islamic military training camps and those linked to them, but this was all stopped in 2010, without an explanation.
In addition to the camps, undercover intelligence operatives in conjunction with the South African Revenue Service (Sars) have established that more than R9 million has been smuggled to terrorist organisations in the last two years.
In October 2008, Sars traced an amount of more than R31 million which was smuggled overseas by a Pakistani group.