SA law enforcement clueless but, luckily, ISIS is not targeting country – experts

2018-11-07 20:16
SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

South Africa need not worry about possible terrorist attacks by the Islamic State group, said most panelists at an Afro-Middle East Centre event on Wednesday. 

Academics, former state security officials and members of the public met at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria to discuss whether South Africa was an ISIS target.

The symposium comes after the recent appearance of 11 men in a KwaZulu-Natal court for a mosque attack earlier this year.

A man was stabbed to death during the attack, and a bomb, which wasn't detonated, was also found at the scene.

Investigating officers in that case have linked the incidents to ISIS operations in the country after they found the group's flags during a raid at one of the suspects' homes.

Several other bombs, similar to the one found at the mosque, were discovered in public locations across Durban, and raised more questions about whether the extremist group had been carrying out operations in South Africa.

READ: 19 suspects to appear in court for KZN mosque attack, bomb scares - Hawks

Two years ago, the Thulsie twins, Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee, were arrested for allegedly planning terror attacks in the country.

But those who were part of Wednesday's panel discussion disagreed with the notion that the extremist group had any command here in South Africa.

"If an attack from ISIS does not exist in our history, why should we think it'll exist in our reality. We have a lot of other issues to deal with in South Africa," former security services officer Michael Sarjoo said.

Sarjoo, who is a former principal of the State Security Agency's intelligence academy, said in his view, ISIS was not planning an attack on South Africa. He said there was no need for government to be alarmed.

However, Jasmine Opperman, who is the Africa director at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, said South Africa was vulnerable to ISIS propaganda, but agreed that South Africa was "not on the radar of countries it'll (ISIS) wish to attack".

She has, however, accused the country's law enforcement agencies of having no clue what ISIS is and how it operates.

At least 100 South African recruits

"They do not know what they are talking about when it comes to the Islamic group".

David Africa, executive director of the African Centre for Security and Intelligence, said several factors might leave South Africa open to threats.

"There is a fragile global geopolitics and the militarisation of the SA neighbourhood, including domestic fragility, economic crisis and political fracturing."

He criticised the country's policies and practices in dealing with extremism.

Na'eem Jeenah, the executive director of the Afro-Middle East Centre, said while there may not have been ISIS-related attacks on South Africa, "there has been recruitment of at least 100 South Africans".

Jeenah said there was a high possibility that ISIS was conducting fundraising activities in South Africa, but wasn't entirely sure where this was happening.

Read more on:    isis  |  terrorism

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.