As has been widely reported, earlier this week four individuals in Johannesburg were arrested in an anti-terror raid. On Monday, two of the suspects appeared in the JHB Magistrate’s Court, where they were charged with three counts of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act. According to the provisional charge sheet, the suspects allegedly planned to carry out bombing attacks against a US mission and unspecified “Jewish institutions” in South Africa.
Reports of alleged terrorist plots within our society are deeply concerning, particularly when, as in this case, our own community has been named as a target. We must however always bear in mind that this is a global, not a specifically South African problem. As SAJBD Vice-President Zev Krengel put it when approached for comment by the media, “We know and we’ve always known that no one is safe anywhere”, adding that we worked closely with South African authorities and would continue to do so.
In many other countries, reports of planned terrorist attacks, including ones explicitly aimed at Jewish institutions, being discovered and thwarted have been a regular occurrence. Amongst the countries with sizable Jewish populations where this has occurred are the US, France, Belgium, Germany, the UK and Australia. This is in addition to the continual atrocities being carried out in various African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon and Somalia. In view of these realities, it was reasonable to anticipate that a terrorist threat might one day surface in South Africa as well. In this case, thankfully, the potential danger has so far been successfully averted, and we fully commend the South African authorities on their decisive action .
In addition to what the national security establishment is doing, our community itself must do all that it can to ensure our own safety. I urge all community members to continue their vigilance and report any suspicious activity to the CSO immediately on 086 1800 018. Should you require any advice in improving the security of your installation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.