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Zuma says South Africa security apparatus is meeting over US terror alert

President Jacob Zuma’s office has issued a diplomatic statement over the US embassy’s issuing of a terror alert to its citizens about threats of attacks in shopping areas in South Africa – in contrast to the angry remarks by the departments of International Relations and State Security earlier on Wednesday

Zuma’s office said: “The Presidency has noted the security alert that the United States government has issued to its citizens in South Africa through its local embassy.

“The Security Cluster is scheduled to meet today to discuss the matter further‚ with a view to ensuring the continued safety of all in the country.

“In addition‚ the South African government will continue to discuss the matter with the United States government as part of ongoing cooperation on security issues between the two countries. South Africa and the United States continue to enjoy strong and cordial relations in various areas of cooperation including political‚ economic‚ social and security matters.”

The Justice‚ Crime Prevention and Security cluster is chaired by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Her deputy is Minister of Police‚ Nathi Nhleko. Ministries in this cluster include: Justice and Correctional Services; Defence; Home Affairs; Police and State Security. The clusters of the Forum of South African Directors-General mirror the ministerial clusters‚ and provide technical support to the ministerial clusters.

In a joint statement earlier‚ the Department of International Relations and the Department of State Security said the government was “displeased” with the manner in which the foreign governments had dealt with the matter‚ calling their actions “disingenuous and a cause for serious concern”.

They said the information‚ which was the basis for the latest terror alerts‚ was found to be sketchy‚ and on closer examination it was found to be information provided by a “walk-in” source based on “questionable conclusions”.

Despite coming under criticism from the two SA departments‚ the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria confirmed on Wednesday that it was not retracting its cautionary message about the terror risk‚ which was followed by travel advisories being issued by the UK and Australia.

“The Security Message was based on specific‚ credible‚ and non-counterable threat information‚” the US embassy said