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Cape Town -
As Kenya continues to bolster security in response to the terrorist attack on a Nairobi mall, the DA has called for assurance that everything is being done to protect South Africa from a similar fate.
DA spokesman for state security Dirk Stubbe said news of a local investigation into al-Shabaab activity in the country was cause for concern.
The Islamic militant group has claimed to be behind the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, where gunmen killed dozens of people.
Last week, it was revealed that the Hawks’s Crimes Against the State Unit had been investigating alleged recruitment and fund-raising for the group in South Africa for at least the past year. Six months ago, it was widely reported that the same group was also running a training camp in the country.
“I’m just going to say where there’s smoke there’s fire… Last week it was a mall in Kenya, the next it could just as easily be one of our own,” said Stubbe. “We cannot sit back and allow South Africa to become a destination of choice for terrorists.”
The DA plans to issue a request that ministers in the justice, crime prevention and security clusters urgently brief the joint standing committee on intelligence on the investigation into so-called “White Widow” Samantha Lewthwaite. Speculation has placed the wanted woman, who used forged travel documents between 2008 and 2011, at the centre of the attack on the Kenyan mall.
However, Minister of Home Affairs Naledi Pandor has stated that Kenyan authorities have not linked the attack to the British woman.
Stubbe hoped the briefing would help synchronise investigations into terrorist activity in South Africa, with local authorities starting to work closely together to prevent a potential threat.
Meanwhile, the body of James Thomas, the 57-year-old Cape Town man who was killed during the mall attack – has been flown to South Africa.
His son-in-law, Scott Lee-Jones, said the businessman, who had been conducting training in Kenya as part of his work for the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, had been shot three times. A funeral service for Thomas will take place at the Bishops Diocesan College chapel in Rondebosch on Wednesday.