By now you may all have heard about the threat on US citizens within South Africa during the month of Ramadan. It has been a big topic of conversation across social media platforms with some people dismissing the claims and others fearing for their lives. One of the most talked about targets is the V & A Waterfront, being a hub for tourists and locals alike. Here is what we know about the supposed threat thus far.
Over the weekend, the United States, British and Australian embassies alerted South Africa on possible terror attacks planned for malls in Cape Town and Johannesburg, as a result shopping centres have stepped up their security in an effort to ensure customer safety.
— TheSouthAfrican.com (@TheSAnews) June 7, 2016
According to News24, the US government said it had received information that terrorist groups are planning to carry out near-term attacks against places where US citizens congregate in South Africa. This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the month of Ramadan which started on Tuesday.
Ten months ago a similar warning was declared which turned out to be a false alarm.
British embassy’s Isabel Potgieter said the UK government was not advising its citizens against travel to South Africa, according to News24. Australia’s government said, ‘The US government issued a terrorism alert to its citizens in South Africa on June 4, 2016.’
EWN reports that the American embassy received specific credible threat information that they had to share according to worldwide policies.
While international governments are issuing warnings, our own government feels that there is no imminent danger. State Security Minister David Mahlobo downplayed the US government’s terror alert, assuring the public that his department was doing all it could to keep South Africa safe against possible attacks.
‘The state security agency and other security agencies in this country are very much capable of keeping South Africa safe and everybody in this country, including Americans,’ says Foreign Affair’s Ministry Spokesman Clayson Monyela.
The premier, Helen Zille says national security agents are researching the matter thoroughly, and stated that the warnings are very concerning. The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has also urged the local travel and tourism industry to be vigilant.
V&A Waterfront’s Carla White says that the Waterfront is on high alert and has responded under the guidelines of the South African security services. ‘We continue a cooperative relationship with SAPS, who has increased their presence and vigilance on our property. Similarly, we have added our own measures on various operational levels. These measures are both visible and discreet,’ says Carla.
It is imperative that we all exercise a level of vigilance especially in areas that are particularly frequented by tourists. There appears to be no immediate danger as of yet, but we have been warned to be on high alert, especially within the month of Ramadan.
We appeal to you to keep your eyes and ears open and if you see anything suspicious, report it to the authorities immediately. Contact SAPS on: +27 21 467 8001/2/2/7
What are your thoughts? Will you be shopping at the big Cape Town malls this month?
Photography V & A Waterfront