Govt distances itself from Dirco, SSA statement on terror alerts

Dirco and SSA accused the US embassy of attempting to manipulate SA efforts to combat terrorism.

The Sandton CBD. Picture: Gary Oberholzer/702

JOHANNESBURG - Government appears to have distanced itself from a strongly worded statement issued by the Department of International Relations and Corporation (Dirco) and the State Security Agency (SSA) following weekend terror alerts.

Yesterday, the departments accused the United States (US) embassy of attempting to influence and manipulate South Africa's efforts to combat terrorism.

This was in response to an alert issued by the Americans on Saturday which warned of possible Isis attacks at malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

However, the Presidency has issued its own far more measured and diplomatic statement, in which it reaffirms the country's cordial relationship with the US.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe would not be drawn on the contents and claims made in the strongly worded statement.

"The statement by the Presidency yesterday, and the statement that we are making today, that's the official position of the South African government."

Radebe referred the media to the US embassy's statement for clarity.

"The US embassy issued a statement that reiterates the same sentiments about the cordial relations between the US and the South African government. It reflects the sentiment that the relations between the US and South Africa are cordial in all spheres - including on security matters. That is the official government position."

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela has deleted a tweet in which he stated he received the highest level of approval for the statement.

It's understood the justice cluster has met to discuss their foreign counterparts to discuss the terror alerts.