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Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - South Africa

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 May 2013
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - South Africa, 30 May 2013, available at: [accessed 17 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: In 2012, South Africa and the United States had little formal counterterrorism cooperation. The South African State Security Agency (SSA) did not significantly engage with U.S. counterterrorism interlocutors.

SSA has used the government's ongoing effort to centralize all intelligence activities under the SSA's umbrella to implement new protocols and enforce old ones. In 2012, SSA began to aggressively enforce the requirement that any counterterrorism-related coordination be directly through SSA's Foreign Branch, which then determines which other entities within SSA or other parts of the South African government will be involved. As a result, U.S. officers working on counterterrorism issues have been largely prevented from engaging their counterparts, who have arrest authority in South Africa. This has also inhibited coordination and information exchanges between some South Africa government agencies and western interlocutors on counterterrorism issues.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: South Africa took steps this year to address document fraud and border security vulnerability. South Africa's Department of Home Affairs (DHA) introduced a new passport with additional security features aimed at eliminating forgery of passports by organized criminal networks. DHA also instituted a new electronic accounting system with protocols on passport issuance in an attempt to combat corruption.

In October, the government opened its testimony as the prosecution witness in a case involving Henry Okah, the leader for the Movement for Defense of the Niger Delta. Okah, a South African citizen since 2003, stood trial in the Gauteng South High Court for his role in the twin bombings during the October 2010 Independence Day Anniversary celebrations in Abuja, Nigeria, that killed and wounded scores of people. On January 21, 2013 Okah was found guilty on 13 counts of terrorism, and on March 26, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. This case is one of the first to be prosecuted under the 2004 Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act.

In 2012, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) built on its strong relationship with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Container Security Initiative team in Durban. SARS worked with CBP to build capacity to meet the World Customs Organization Framework of Standards.

South Africa continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program by attending courses on Maritime Interdiction, Explosive Ordinance and Forensics, Land Border Interdiction, Management of Special Events, Document Fraud, and Crime Scene Management. South African officials also participated directly with the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. Courses at the ILEA focus on training of mid-level police managers in a wide range of law enforcement and police programs. Unfortunately, South African attendance at these courses was plagued by poor participation and it attendees were often unaffiliated with counterterrorism activities.

Countering Terrorist Finance: As a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a FATF-style regional body, South Africa largely complied with FATF standards for anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance, and has a well-functioning Financial Intelligence Unit, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). Those required to report to the FIC included banks, financial institutions, car dealers, attorneys, gold dealers, gambling establishments, real estate agents, foreign exchange dealers, securities traders, money lenders (including those who lend against shares, e.g., brokers), entities selling travelers checks, and Johannesburg stock exchange- registered people, and companies. South Africa's FIC is a member of the Egmont group.

Most major cities have a sizable community of those who use a multitude of locally owned money/value transfer (MVTs) services that tend to be poorly regulated, including hawalas. Analysts believe that given a sizable Somali community, and presence of al-Shabaab sympathizers in South Africa, hawalas and other MVTS are likely being exploited to transfer funds to violent extremists in East Africa.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: South Africa is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and sent representatives from its embassies to participate in working group meetings. South Africa finished its second two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC (2011-201w) and played a leading role in the AU Peace and Security Council.

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