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'SA not on terror alert'

"Claims that SA is on terror alert are wild and based on rumours."

An image of a fake South African passport belonging to British national Samantha Lewthwaite aka the 'White Widow' was released by Kenyan police in 2011. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The private law enforcement company reported to be at the source of claims that South Africa is on terror alert says the allegations are wild and based on rumours.

The City Press reported at the weekend that the woman dubbed the 'White Widow', Samantha Lewthwaite, was seen in the country earlier this year conducting surveillance on foreign embassies in Pretoria.

The intelligence is claimed to have come from Specialised Services Group (SSG) and Jewish community security organisation CSO, but both groups have distanced themselves from the report.

SSG's Warren Goldblatt says the company received a speculative report earlier this year that Lewthwaite may have been in South Africa and handed it over to the relevant authorities.

"No information is credible until it's been investigated and we can't comment because we handed it over."

He said weekend media reports quoting SSG executives as a source confirming the credibility of the information were wrong.

High ranking officials from CSO told Eyewitness News the information is far from the truth, while the Security Ministry says no security alert has been issued by government.

Meanwhile, the ANC called for the tightening of immigration laws and stronger security measures on identity documents (IDs) and passports and a security analyst said corruption was the weakest link and not technology or legislation.

After a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Sunday, the ANC's Gwede Mantashe said they would ask the country's security cluster to conduct a review.

At the same time, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says South Africans must not get carried away by exaggerated reports of terror threats in the country.

Chief security analyst at Red24 Ryan Cummings said government could implement the most sophisticated technology on IDs and passports, but security was only high as the officials behind the desk.

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