Overview: Following the September 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Kenya, the South African Police Service (SAPS) began engaging with U.S. law enforcement agencies to advance its preparedness for similar terrorist attacks in South Africa. U.S. law enforcement interacted primarily with Crimes Against the State (CATS) within the SAPS Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI). The Foreign Branch (SSA/FB) of South Africa's State Security Agency (SSA) and SAPS Crime Intelligence were also involved in counterterrorism.

The South African government has not publicly provided estimates of the number of South African nationals who have traveled to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-controlled territories and joined ISIL, but media have reported on multiple confirmed cases in 2015, in addition to the 140 cases estimated in 2014. Some travelers reportedly set up social media accounts to help recruit additional South Africans to join ISIL. Authorities kept track of those suspected of being part of terrorist groups, particularly those who have traveled and returned from Syria and Iraq. In January, one prominent South African family left Port Elizabeth to join ISIL. In April, SSA Minister David Mahlobo confirmed that a teenage girl detained at the airport in Cape Town was recruited by ISIL and intended to travel to Syria. An SSA spokesman confirmed there had been other "possible recruitments."

In November, a South African driver's license was found near the body of an ISIL terrorist killed in a blast in Iraq. Authorities were working at the end of 2015 to verify that the deceased was, in fact, the South African national.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004, regulates counterterrorism activity in South Africa. The Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, 1998 applies to nationals who attempt to join and have enlisted with ISIL. The SAPS Crime Intelligence Division, CATS, DPCI, and SSA are tasked with detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism within South Africa. The SAPS' Special Task Force is specifically trained and proficient in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and hostage rescue. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is committed to prosecuting cases of terrorism and international crime.

In an attempt to tighten its borders and enhance national security, South Africa proposed amendments and made changes in 2015 to its immigration regulations. South Africa opened seven new visa facilitation centers in India and two in China to facilitate applications. Citizens of neighboring countries are no longer required to obtain visas for temporary visits, however, and regulation of visa, passport, and identity documents remained a challenge. The SAPS internal affairs office investigated allegations of corruption within the Department of Home Affairs concerning the sale of passports and identity documents, but the use of illegitimately obtained identity documents persisted.

Counterterrorism measures at borders include screening with advanced technology x-ray machines. U.S. and South African agencies shared best practices to enhance risk management efforts and better identify challenges at their borders.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: South Africa is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF); and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a FATF-style regional body. Its financial intelligence unit, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), is a member of the Egmont Group. The FIC Act Amendment Bill, 2015, proposed amendments to the act governing the FIC's responsibilities that address "threats to the stability of South Africa's financial system posed by money laundering and terrorism financing." Among the amendments, the bill assigns responsibility to the FIC to freeze the assets of persons on UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions lists. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Countering Violent Extremism: South African efforts to counter violent extremism have not been publicly released.

International and Regional Cooperation: South Africa is a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the AU.


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