Govt displeased with manner in which SA terror alerts were handled

The Americans warned of possible Isis terror attacks on its citizens at South African malls.

The Sandton City building in Sandton, Johannesburg. Picture: Sandton City's Facebook page.

PRETORIA- The South African government has made a formal démarch on embassies that issued terror alerts in South Africa.

It's a strong diplomatic protest at the way the matter was handled.

The US Embassy issued a terror alert on Saturday, while the British and Australian embassies updated their travel advisors.

The Americans warned of possible Isis terror attacks on its citizens at malls.

The South African government has accused the US Embassy of trying to influence, manipulate or control South Africa's counter-terrorism work.

In a hard-hitting statement issued in response to the terror alert over the weekend, the government says the information relied on was dubious, unsubstantiated and based on a single-source.

Government has rejected what it believes was an attempt to generate a perception of its ineptitude, and create alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable source.

South Africa has now made a formal démarche on the affected embassies to register its displeasure.

Government added that should the need arise, it is government which will be the first to inform the public about any imminent threat.

The full statement is as follows:

GOVERNMENT DISPLEASED WITH THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ALERTS ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA WERE HANDLED.

The South African government takes the threat of violent extremism and terrorism very seriously. It is a global phenomenon that no nation can claim immunity from.

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 (sic), alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable single source.

The South African government is fully capable of securing our country, protecting our people and taking care of the safety of foreign citizens on our soil. We expect foreign embassies on our soil to follow the correct channels when communicating matters of such nature.

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.

South Africa values the political, economic and social ties with these countries and will approach any discussion within the spirit of cooperation and international solidarity.

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.