US, SA relations 'cordial and strong', Radebe insists repeatedly

2016-06-09 12:53
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. (File, AFP)

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. (File, AFP)

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Cape Town – Cabinet on Thursday stopped short of denouncing statements by the departments of international relations and state security on the US terror alert.

"South Africa and the US continue to enjoy strong and cordial relations in various areas of co-operation, including political, economic, social and security matters. And that is the official government position," Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said over and over on Thursday at a post-cabinet briefing.

This comes after the US issued a terror alert over the weekend for South Africa, which was followed by the UK adjusting its travel advisory to a high-terror alert - with malls across SA ramping up their security in response.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the departments of international relations and state security said the threats were based on "very sketchy" information.

The two departments slammed the terror alert and said they were "displeased with the manner in which the alerts about South Africa were handled".

"We are, therefore displeased with the manner in which some countries have reciprocated. Their actions have been disingenuous and a cause for serious concern to our government," the statement read.

International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela tweeted that the statement was "approved at the highest level" after it was issued.

But in a press briefing following a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Radebe would not budge from the official line.

Asked for clarity on whether they were distancing themselves from the joint statement, he said they reiterated the statement issued by President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday.

"And there is nothing more to add. That is where the issue stands," he said.

On Wednesday, Zuma said South Africa’s state agencies had met to discuss the terror warning issued by the US Embassy in Pretoria.

Radebe said the South African government would continue to discuss the matter with the US government as part of ongoing co-operation on security issues.

The departments of international relations and state security on Wednesday said the South African government rejected "attempts by foreign countries to influence, manipulate or control our country’s counter terrorism work".

"We reject attempts to generate perceptions of government ineptude, alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable single source."

US Embassy spokesperson Cynthia Harvey on Wednesday said the embassy was continuing to work with the South African government on the matter.

She confirmed there was "no change in status of the security message issued on June 4, 2016. It was based on specific, credible, and non-counterable threat information".

Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  cape town  |  security

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