Cape Town – South Africa is not immune to the threat of terror attacks, the Institute of Race Relations has said.
IRR CEO Dr Frans Cronje said it was misleading for South Africa’s security agencies to say there was no terror link or threat in the country.
This comes after the US issued a terror alert over the weekend for South Africa.
This was followed by the UK adjusting its travel advisory to a high-terror alert - with malls across SA ramping up their security in response.
Cronje said the IRR had been warning for years that South Africa should not see itself as immune from terror attacks.
"The type of attacks that played themselves out most recently in France and Belgium are very difficult to prevent and it is that type of attack – a relatively isolated incident carried out by a small group of extremists with simple weaponry against a prominent target – which South Africa is also vulnerable to."
He said there were examples of terror suspects being in possession of SA passports.
"There is also no security agency anywhere in the world that could provide an assurance that a specific country faces no terror threat. Terror is a global threat and as security measures in Western democracies are strengthened, scenarios that see Western-aligned targets being attacked in third party countries become more likely," said Cronje.
On Monday, State Security Minister David Mahlobo downplayed the US government’s terror alert, giving assurances that his department was doing all it could to keep South Africa safe against attacks.
The South African government lashed out at the United States for the way it had issued a recent warning about possible terror attacks on Thursday.
In a statement by two government departments, it said the information on which the US based its warning message on Saturday was "dubious, unsubstantiated and provided by a 'walk-in' source based on questionable conclusions".
It said the information was "very sketchy".