State Security Deputy Minister, Zizi Kodwa, says the alert issued by the US Embassy of a possible terror attack in the greater Sandton area this weekend, is unfortunate.
Kodwa believes the information should have been shared with intelligence agencies before being made public.
The department has stressed that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the claim and it did not deter the LGBTQI community, who turned out in their numbers for the Johannesburg Pride Parade in Sandton.
It was business as usual in Sandton and the parade attracted large crowds in colourful attire, celebrating gay pride.
“To be here is just to vibe with the amazing people, just spending time with everyone. That’s it.”
“I’m here supporting my girlfriend Angy who will be performing at 12h00 today. This is a full set for the gay community in support of the gay buddies. It’s not safe to be anywhere but need to be vigilant everywhere in South Africa today.”
Kodwa did a walkabout in Sandton City and surrounding areas. He says the government was taking the possible terror threat very seriously.
“We do a continuous assessment of any threats to the national security of the republic. That’s why you see the alert and the presence of law enforcement agencies. Not only because of this. We do also take into account huge events. Whether in sports like the one taking in Soweto. Because of big crowds, terrorism knows no boundaries. And it’s a global phenomenon. All countries are vulnerable including South Africa. That’s why we said what said. And will repeat what the president said. That was unfortunate. But we take seriously any alert.”
The LGBTQI event organisers dismiss any suggestion that the terror alert was directed at the Pride parade. The event was aimed to campaign against threats based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Event coordinator Kay Ally explains, “So there was a scare or threat direct on us. It was associated to us by the media. And we’ve done a lot in terms of the security and Sandton as a precinct has also done a lot as well as the authorities. And I think people as you can see have come out to enjoy themselves. I don’t think there’s anxiety. I think the emphasis is that the LGBTI will not be or capitulate to any threats.”
Pride march goes ahead in Sandton despite terror threats:
Small business operators were optimistic.
“Business is going but more people are starting to come in but we are excited about today. And there’s a lot of fun. So we are selling a lot of staff. We have T-shirts, hats, lumber and we’ve all of it. So we’ve been selling since yesterday. Business is still coming. We are still waiting for people. But it’s going to pick up. That’s a lot of police though it looks like it’s gonna rain.”
Kodwa says State Security authorities would be on high alert at all big events taking place this weekend, including the coronation of the AmaZulu King at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, and the Soweto Derby at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
Business as usual in Sandton amid security threat warning: