This is according to Professor Hussein Solomon, senior professor in the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State, and a senior research associate of think tank Research on Islam and Muslims in Africa, which “aims to achieve a better understanding of current issues affecting Islam and Muslims in Africa”.
An as yet unconfirmed number of civilians and alleged terrorists were killed this week in Nairobi, Kenya, after Islamist extremist group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen attacked Kenyans in response to its military operations. At least one South African, James Thomas, was killed in the attack.
Professor Solomon told The Citizen South Africa was probably not an immediate target because it was too valuable as a base of operations for extremists groups “to make nonsense”. Aside from South Africa being a safe haven and a place to recruit, he said: “We have great infrastructure in terms of banking, transport, and communication.
“With our porous borders and government corruption it is easy to move around, and in and out of the country.
“Also, there is no Department of Homeland Security as in the US. The intelligence services are a mess, corrupted and politicised. It is there to keep President Jacob Zuma out of jail and the ANC in power.”
However, it is not only religious extremists that are dangerous. According to his book, Jihad, a South African perspective, an increasingly unhappy population growing ever more alienated with a non-responsive state should be heeded, and cited the large number of service delivery protests.
According to the South African Police crime statistics, there were 1 882 violent protests for 2012/13, compared to 1 226 for 2011/12.
He also said ease of access to explosives was a problem. Police statistics showed 1 508 automatic teller machines were bombed between 2008 and 2013, an average of little more than 300 a year.
On Monday September 23, the Kenyan Defence Force tweeted more than 200 civilians were rescued with 65 hospitalised and a further 62 dead. It also said 11 soldiers were wounded and that on Tuesday three had died.
Home Affairs has not launched an investigation into reports that an alleged terrorist had apparently been carrying a South African passport, spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed to The Citizen.
“I don’t want to comment any further as we will be discussing the matter tomorrow,. He also declined to comment on the availability of false passports.
The Hawks were aware of the activities of Somali militant group al-Shabab, said spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko. “We do have a project that we are working on that has being going on for more than a year.” He declined to reveal any more details.
Anneli Botha of the Institute of Security Studies said in 2011 she had been told she was serving a “western agenda” when she tried to warn authorities. “Africa has been telling us for some time, you guys need to wake up.” Only
4 400km separates Johannesburg from Nairobi. “It’s not that far and the attacks are becoming closer and closer,” warned Botha.