Increasing Terror Links To South Africa

Op-Ed by a SATAC contributor

In 2018 I speculated on the SATAC platform that the current violent Islamic State activity in northern Mozambique around the gas reserves and processing areas is an example of a link between organise crime and terrorism. SATAC believes that around 100 residents or citizens of South African (SA) are involved in this extremism.

I also suggested that SATAC should look at linking the apparent terrorist events in SA (e.g. the mosque attacks and the murder of British botanists in KZN, etc).

I further commented that the ‘Cash In Transit’ robberies in SA and the level of expertise deployed could indicate possibly “training runs” or “hired specialists “ for organized crime by terrorist cells; e.g. using those to hire out expertise, train operatives and generate funds.

At that stage it was believed that my view was a bit of a stretch. It now appears to be more probable.

The problem is that SA is at least three years behind the development and is playing catch up. I believe that with few resources and expertise remaining in our security forces we will, sooner rather than later, see a serious act of terrorism in SA.

The sentiment that there remains “cooperation” through historic relationships between the ruling AVC and other “liberation” movements and that therefore SA remains a “safe haven” for terrorist organizations, are simply no longer true.

I was out with the timing as we are now three years down the line, but with growing economic vows, heading into an election and growing youth disaffection, it’s no longer a question of ‘maybe’ – it’s merely a question of ‘when’ will we see a large scale act of terrorism in SA.

I believe that now is the time for security professionals in SA to start doing more in preparations in protection of facilities and operations against a first serious act of terrorism and then further attacks on SA soil.

More should be done in training the public in terrorism awareness and active shooter event response.

The debate should now increase momentum on many levels with plans to protect operations and people in what will soon become a tragic reality in SA.

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SATAC Research & Analytics Team

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