International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has asked local authorities to investigate allegations that a South African man was part of a jihadist terrorist outfit operating in Mozambique.
Andre Hanekom, 60, and two Tanzanians were arrested on Monday, and were named by Mozambican authorities as allegedly being part of a jihadist group operating in the region.
According to AFP, the group faces charges including murder and crimes against the state.
Allegedly, Hanekom was responsible for the logistics of the group and was shot while trying to resist arrest in August. Weapons were reportedly found at his home.
In a statement on Tuesday, International Relations and Cooperation minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s office said she had received a report from the South African High Commissioner to Mozambique Mandisi Mpahlwa on the charges facing Hanekom.
"The Minister views the charges in a very serious light and has requested South African law enforcement agencies to also investigate the charges with the aim of ensuring that no South African citizen become involved in activities that destabilise other countries, in particular our good neighbour and friend," said her spokesperson, Ndivhuwo Mabaya.
Sisulu said South Africa and Mozambique shared a "very deep political history" and "very strong economic relations".
"It is not acceptable that a South African citizen is in court for alleged involve[ment] in extreme jihadists activities that resulted in loss of life. South African citizens should spread love and peace across the SADC area, continent and the world," Sisulu said.
Sisulu said that more than 800 South Africans are in prisons across the world for different crimes including fraud, drug possession and violent crimes, with the majority in the Americas for drug-related convictions.
"We are very concerned about South Africans in prisons across the world, but we are specifically concerned about South Africans who are involved in crimes and activities that seek to destabilise democratically-elected states. We have asked law enforcement agencies to look deeper into this matter. South Africans must spread peace and also be agents of economic development and political stability wherever they go," Sisulu said.
She said that South Africa takes up its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term on January 1, 2019. The issue of extremist groups operating on the continent will be high on the agenda, she said.
Among the key priorities during the two-year tenure on the UNSC would be the silencing of guns in Africa, attending to the plight of women and children in conflict areas and coordinating a response to the rise of extremist groups.
"We go to the UNSC carrying an African mandate. The people of Africa have sent us to highlight their issues and to work with other nations to find solutions to their challenges. We are ready and our diplomats are ready," Sisulu said.