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South Africa Demands Clarification from UK Foreign Office on Terror Alert

South African authorities have requested clarification from the UK Government following a change in the UK Foreign Office’s travel advice for South Africa, warning that “terrorists are very likely to attempt to carry out attacks in South Africa”.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which provides advice on travel risks to help British nationals make informed decisions about foreign travel, has updated its alert on its website. The alert warns British citizens intending to travel to South Africa that “terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa.”

The FCDO warns that the main threat comes from individuals who may have been inspired by terrorist groups, including Daesh, and who may carry out ‘lone actor’ attacks. It further warns that attacks could be indiscriminate, with public spaces such as tourist sites, shopping centres, high-profile events, and crowded places potentially being targeted.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor [Photo: GCIS]

However, the claims by the UK government have been dismissed by Zane Dangor, the South African Director-General of International Relations. Speaking to a South African news outlet, News 24, Dangor said he was waiting for proof from UK authorities for what he regarded as “unfounded” allegations. Dangor stated that they had not yet received a proper explanation and that “there is no evidence why South Africa would be targeted for a terror attack.” He also accused the UK of not following diplomatic channels to communicate their concerns.

In response to the terror alert, Kobus Marais, the Shadow Minister of Defence for the Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s official opposition, stated, “The alert issued by UK authorities should not be dismissed lightly. Given the current global conflict climate, South Africa, like any other nation, is a potential target for attacks.”

“These attacks could be directed at our government, our people, or other international interests, including Americans, British, European Union, and Jewish interests,” Marais said.

The real challenge, he added, is whether South Africa’s  intelligence agencies have access and control the best information, whether they are collaborating with the British and other countries, and whether our security components are equipped to fend off any conventional or other attacks.

The Shadow Minister expressed concern that South Africa’s Police, and especially its army, are extremely vulnerable to external attacks

Marais described it as another call that  South Africa is too vulnerable, and it should devote much more attention and priorities to security. 

“It’s a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’, South Africa succumbs to any form of onslaught,” he said. “By then,” Marais noted, “it will be too late for blame games or regrets.

He criticised the South African government for “once again failing our country and its people by not maintaining a high level of preparedness.”

Linda van Tilburg is a seasoned journalist and producer with roots in both South Africa and the United Kingdom. She began her career as a senior political correspondent for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), where she covered the country’s historic transition from apartheid to democracy. Notably, she was one of the chief correspondents reporting on Nelson Mandela during this pivotal period. Since then, Linda has held various roles, including serving as a newscaster and London Correspondent at Jacarandafm, South Africa’s largest commercial radio station. She pursued a Master’s degree in Global Politics at the LSE and has worked as a political risk analyst for S&P Global (formerly IHS Markit). She has also written articles for News24 and Vrye Weekblad and as a producer for platforms such as (US) and VCNewsDaily (US). Additionally, Linda served as a Newsletter Editor for a collaborative project between Facebook and the Sunday Times and is a regular contributor to