SA beefs up security after dispute with Israel

South Africa has beefed up its state security agency and placed it on high alert amid concerns over the possible fallout of the government’s decision to take legal action against Israel to try and bring a halt to its war with Hamas.

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, the state security minister, reiterated concerns voiced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this week that “foreign intelligence agencies” were being used to retaliate against South Africa for filing its lawsuit in the International Court of Justice. Neither of them named the countries they suspected of being involved.

“There are international misinformation campaigns which are aimed at destabilizing the country,”  Ntshavheni said. “ As the security cluster we are very focused on that work, we are monitoring, and we are strengthening our capacity.”


The ICJ last week ruled that Israel — accused by South Africa of genocide amid its crackdown on Hamas — must act to prevent Palestinians from being killed or injured, but stopped short of demanding an immediate cease-fire. Israel denied that it was targeting civilians and re-affirmed it’s right to self-defense when it appeared before the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

South Africa is due hold election by August that are gearing up to be the most hotly contested since apartheid rule ended in 1994, with opinion polls showing that the ruling African National Congress risks losing its national majority.  Ramaphosa said foreign agencies could attempt to interfere with the outcome in the hopes of removing his government.

“We continue to support the Independent Electoral Commission to make sure that we do not have a threat of cyber interferences from foreign agencies,” Ntshavenhi said. “ We cannot allow for foreign agencies to destabilize our elections.”

On Tuesday, Naledi Pandor, the international relations minister who has been a vocal critic of Israel, said she had spoken with the police minister about whether she had sufficient protection. She also accused Israel of being in contravention of the ICJ ruling and urged the international community to keep applying pressure.

“Hundreds of people have been killed in the last three or four days,” she told reporters. “Clearly Israel believes it has license to do as it wishes.”

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