THE South African government has dismissed the U.S terror alert as “dubious, unsubstantiated” and supplied by a “walk-in” source for financial gain.
In a strongly-worded statement jointly issued by the Departments of International Relations and State Security on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma’s administration lambasted Washington’s handling of the matter.
The statement, released by Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela and his State Security counterpart Brian Dube, suggested that US president Barack Obama’s government recklessly cast aspersions on South Africa’s ability to defend its borders from terrorist attacks.
“The information provided as a basis for the latest terror alerts on South Africa has been found to be very sketchy. On closer examination, we have found the information to be dubious, unsubstantiated and provided by a “walk-in” source based on questionable conclusions,” read part of the statement.
“It is within this context that the South African government rejects 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.”
Monyela and Dube revealed that the government has issued Demarches, a diplomatic protest against a country which involves summoning the relevant ambassador, expressing displeasure about an issue and demanding an explanation.
This came after the U.S Embassy in South Africa warned this week that “terrorist groups are planning to carry out near-term attacks against places where U.S citizens congregate in South Africa, such as upscale shopping areas and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town”.
The US claimed its terror alert came against the backdrop of ISIS’ public call for its supporters to carry out global attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Without issuing alerts of their own, the British and Australian embassies followed up by updating their travel information for South Africa.
In what could be construed as a diplomatic spat, the South African government has effectively accused the U.S of unprofessional and disrespectful conduct.
Pretoria further accused Washington of trying to use tricks to manipulate Africa’s most advanced economy into joining America’s global anti-terror campaigns.
“South Africa as a sovereign peace loving country has always adopted a professional manner in engaging with other countries on these issues. 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 Zuma government reiterated that while it took “the threat of violent extremism and terrorism very seriously”, it frowned upon attempts by foreign governments to impugn its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The South African government is fully capable of securing our country, protecting our people and taking care of the safety of foreign citizens on our soil. We expect foreign embassies on our soil to follow the correct channels when communicating matters of such nature,” the statement added.
“To this end, the South African government has demarched the affected embassies to register our displeasure with the manner in which the matter was handled.”
Zuma this evening met with members of his security cluster to discuss the US terror alert, the Presidency said.
The US, British and Australian embassies couldn’t be reached for comments.