By Thabiso Mohlabeng
The most important role of the government is to protect its citizens from national security threats. This means creating a strong system for defence, both at home and abroad.
South Africa should continue to act as a staunch supporter of freedom for its citizens and also for our neighbouring countries. It is important to have a properly funded and functioning military in our nation. It is a governmental responsibility to ensure that the Department of State Security budget reflects the threats we face.
We must be prepared to fight threats not only from traditional nation states, but also determined groups of terrorists, like Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis), al-Shabaab, and al-Qaeda. They seek to wreak havoc upon South Africa and Africa as a whole.
It is vitally important that the government continues to protect South African citizens and its interests both at home and abroad.
The perception of immigration as a threat to security has developed alongside the rapid increase in the number of immigrants worldwide. By 2010 it was estimated that more than 214 million people lived outside their countries. It is notable that South Africa has a high number of undocumented immigrants. Immigrants play a significant part in the growth of the country’s economy, but undocumented immigrants pose a threat to our national security.
Recently, due to the turmoil in northern Mozambique as regards the involvement of Isis in an insurgency, more than 1400 people have been killed. The insurgency started in October 2017. In June, Isis published an editorial on its al-Naba online bulletin, in which it warned that if South Africa intervened militarily, this “may result in prompting the soldiers of the Islamic State to open a fighting front inside its borders!”
As a citizen, you start to question the country’s national security, you get to ask how many sleeper cells terrorists have within our country to be able to bring this fight to us.
Beside terrorist cells, we need to consider countries that seek to inflict harm on us; for example, recently Iran allegedly threatened to kill the US ambassador to South Africa; that would not just be a mere threat to the US but to us as South Africans. Do they see us as an ant that does not quarrel with the boot, but still must be squashed?
Immigrants tend to work and save and send money to their home countries; often as a country, we do not know, or are incapable of tracking, if the money is used to fund enemies of the state. Immigration has economic advantages and disadvantages. But when corruption and incompetence are prevalent, aliens can take advantage of the system.
If our government does not prioritise the national security of its citizens, one day we will make up to find our country belonging to wolves, with terror groups running across our streets as a norm. We will live in fear, and the Southern African Development Community and Africa as a whole will be destabilised further.
Recently we have seen that human trafficking is prevalent; many young women go missing in South Africa daily and are never found; how they leave this country makes you question national state security.
South Africa is supposed to be a haven for nations, but it has turned out to be a hell for the citizens of this country.
* Mohlabeng is a digital marketing, PR and corporate communication practitioner
** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of IOL