The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) has given an assurance that it’s not confirmed the veracity of any threat at this stage.
It’s responded to the alert issued by the US government suggesting that a terror attack is planned for Sandton this weekend.
NATJOINTS comprises various government departments led by State Security Agency (SSA), the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
The security alert was sent two days ago with no additional information regarding the timing, method, or target of the potential attack on October 29, this Saturday. Police spokesperson, Robert Netshiunda, says they’ve been engaging with the US embassy.
“The South African Intelligence Community had engaged the US counterpart with an expectation that credible information will be shared as part of cooperation agreements which the law enforcement agencies with foreign agencies as information is shared in aspects of mutual context.”
There is speculation the potential attack is targeted at the Johannesburg Pride parade on Saturday. NATJOINTS says the alert comes at a time when heightened law enforcement visibility and targeted operations are already in place as part of Safer Festive Season Campaign which started earlier this month.
Netshiuanda says all hands are on deck this weekend as the country will have over 500 events, with more than 200 of those in Gauteng. They include among others the Soweto derby where 90 000 soccer fans are expected as well as the coronation of the Amazulu king in Durban.
“This calls for heightened police visibility, road blocks and search-and-seizure operations. Spectators, fans and patrons might expect delays in accessing the venues and other strategic points.”
The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says the South African government is capable of dealing with such threats. Regional coordinator Martin Ewi.
“South African is capable. They are indeed working with foreign powers including the Americans trying to see how to prevent an incident of this sort, that’s on the intelligence level. The question is how involved is the politician, and how involved are other government institutions to be able to understand what exactly is going on.”
US Embassy’s warning of possible terror attack in SA: Martin Ewi
While the organisers of the parade are continuing with the event, businesses remain on high alert. In a statement, Property group, Liberty Two Degrees says it has increased security measures in and around the area, including Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square, the offices, hotels, and the Sandton Convention Centre. This businessman says the government needs to protect its citizens
“When you talk about security threats, our government must take charge of that. I’m here for business and I can’t just run away. We are coming from COVID and we sat home. Everybody knows that in Africa, South Africa, Sandton is where we do our business so that we can move on quickly.”
South Africans are urged to report any suspicious behaviour and activities to law enforcement authorities.
Business as usual in Sandton amid security threat warning: