The liberal think tank said South Africa’s geographic position at “the tail of the African terror belt”‚ its “relatively porous borders”‚ “weak control over official documents” and “access to illegal weaponry” made it “vulnerable to terror attacks”.
The IRR comments come a day after Police Minister Nkosinathi said there is no need to panic about a warning that there was an imminent terror attack by Islamic extremists in South Africa’s major cities.
That was a reaction to the United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa informing its citizens that its had received information that terrorist groups were planning to carry out attacks against places where US citizens congregate in South Africa‚ such as upscale shopping areas and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“There is also no security agency anywhere in the world that could provide an assurance that a specific country faces no terror threat‚” IRR CEO Dr Frans Cronje said.
“Terror is a global threat and as security measures in Western democracies are strengthened‚ scenarios that see Western-aligned targets being attacked in third party countries become more likely.
“The type of attacks that played themselves out most recently in France and Belgium are very difficult to prevent and it is that type of attack – a relatively isolated incident carried out by a small group of extremists with simple weaponry against a prominent target – which South Africa is also vulnerable to.”
Cronje added that there were “numerous examples…of terror suspects being found in possession of South African passports”.