No need to panic over terror alerts - Home Affairs

2016-06-06 18:47

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Johannesburg – The Department of Home Affairs said on Monday that South Africans should not panic following a travel warning by the British High Commission.

"Travel warnings are precautions taken by countries to protect their citizens, it is not for us to panic. Whatever they are warning their citizens about, it doesn't necessarily mean it is going to happen or it is a fact.  Ebola is an example of something that [we were warned about] but never happened on our shores," said spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete.  

"The [Ministry of] State Security will communicate with the country if there is a threat," he said.  

The Australian government has also since updated its travel advisory for South Africa.

State Security Minister David Mahlobo downplayed the US government's terror alert earlier on Monday, giving assurances that his department was doing all it could to keep South Africa safe against attacks.

An official for the British embassy in South Africa said their government had revised their travel alert to South Africa following the US warning at the weekend.

Not advising against travel

Clarifying earlier reports that the UK had issued a new alert, the embassy's Isabel Potgieter told News24 that their government issued an alert on May 20 but had revised it at the weekend following the US alert.

Potgieter said the UK government was not advising its citizens against travel to South Africa.

The US issued a warning on Saturday after it had "received information that terrorist groups are planning to carry out near-term attacks against places where US citizens congregate in South Africa, such as upscale shopping areas and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town".

The UK government's May 20 statement said,"There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners such as shopping areas in Johannesburg and Cape Town."

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria, Britain's foreign office said.

Read more on:    david mahlobo  |  us  |  uk  |  australia  |  security

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