Incidents threatening SA’s stability are under investigation

State Security says xenophobia, land grabs, Isis recruitment & activities at varsities are being analysed.

FILE: Foreign nationals gesture after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban on 14 April, 2015 in ongoing violence against foreign nationals in Durban, South Africa. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - State Security Minister David Mahlobo says a number of incidents, which have threatened the stability of the country over the past few weeks, are under investigation to determine if they are connected.

Mahlobo says incidents involving xenophobic violence, land grabs and activities at varsities will be scrutinised.

"Over the last few months we've seen an incident of the transformation of the institution of higher learning that turned into anarchy, resulting in statues being defaced."

He says land invasions are also a major concern.

"All over the country you see incidents of land invasion, because privately owned land and land owned by the state is being grabbed."

The minister says attempts by terror groups to recruit South Africans, the xenophobic violence, and general unrest are also undermining the authority of the state.

Mahlobo also says government knows who is responsible for the xenophobic violence and they will be dealt with swiftly.

He adds there are leaders who are using the country's problems to make people rise up against the government.

"Also citizens, irrespective of their positions, they must not exploit the our people. Those burning issues of unemployment, of poverty and of inequality."

Mahlobo says incitement will not be tolerated.

"They have the right to raise the issues, but the manner they raise these issues, immediately they start to actually undermine the rule of law."

The minister says the state security agency will be taking a closer look at who is responsible for creating general unrest.

He says the latest xenophobic violence, land grabs and anarchy are now being investigated.


Yesterday, authorities said at least 307 people has been arrested in relation to the recent xenophobic attacks in the country.

Just over two weeks ago xenophobic attacks flared up in KwaZulu-Natal and quickly spread to Gauteng province.

Seven people have died due to the violence, this excludes the death of Emmanuel Sithole, a Mozambican man who succumbed to his stab wounds after he was attacked in Alexandra at the weekend.

Mahlobo said government set up specialised courts for the speedy prosecution of the perpetrators.

"Additional prosecutors and magistrates have been put into place. We have also indicated that even additional legal aid has been put into place because some of delays in some cases and also the fact that people have the right to legal representation in our Constitution."


Earlier this month, the State Security Ministry said it was investigating how a Cape Town teenager was allegedly recruited to join terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).

A 15-year-old was hauled off a plane bound for Johannesburg on 5 April at the Cape Town International Airport.

The girl reportedly told people close to her that she was going to join the terrorist organisation.

The ministry said the girl actively engaged with social networks on Twitter and social media.

The department says the teenager has been safely returned to her family.

Mahlobo said his department was looking for evidence that might lead authorities to possible recruiters operating in the country.

"Our biggest worry is the method in which the terrorist group uses to recruit young innocent people."


Mahlobo also dismissed criticism of government's response to xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Earlier today Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that the army would be deployed to areas identified as xenophobia hotspots.

The minister says it is unfair to criticize government's decision to deploy the defence force to xenophobia hotspots.

"Any loss of life is one too many."

There have been criticisms of what many say is governments pre-mature decision to pull the military in.

In 2008 the South African National Defence Force was deployed to Alexandra after police struggled for several days to control the situation.