State Security Minister speaks out – again – on South Africans wanting to join terror groups

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State Security Minister David Mahlobo has again indicated there are a growing number of South Africans associating themselves with terrorist organisations.

He first raised the issue in the National Assembly last week during his budget vote and this week his spokesman, Brian Dube, put out a statement to reinforce last week’s words to Parliament.

As far as can be ascertained only one South African has to date been detained for attempting to leave the country and join Islamic State (IS). On Easter Sunday last year a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Cape Town, who still remains unidentified, was taken off a flight from Cape Town International to OR Tambo International by authorities who suspected she was planning to board an international flight to join IS.

In the statement the Minister said: “Domestically efforts continue to be undertaken to identify South African citizens who want to join terrorist groups and to prevent an expansion in this regard. In addition, we are working with certain communities to curb radicalisation and recruitment of our young people on false ideology”.

His department is seeking partnership between civil society organisations, the private sector and communities to fight what he called “this scourge”.

Mahlobo said terrorist groups have been evolving with their motivations, financing and support mechanisms. Methods of attack and choice of targets are constantly changing.
“This is done through the use of new and sophisticated recruitment tactics and funding methods, as well as attempts at gaining and controlling territory,” he said.

The Minister reassured South Africans that despite the persistent global terrorism threat, the country remains relatively stable.



He told MPs: “Domestically efforts continue to be undertaken to identify South African citizens who want to join terrorist groups and to prevent an expansion in this regard. In addition, we are working with certain communities to curb radicalisation and recruitment of our young people on false ideology. Fighting radicalisation is a societal responsibility. We need partnerships between civil society organisations, the private sector and communities to fight this scourge.”