Johannesburg – The US ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, has lauded the Hawks for their swift arrest of four alleged terrorism suspects at the weekend.
“I am pleased to join South Africans in commending the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) and other law enforcement agencies on the July 9 arrest of terrorists suspected of planning attacks on the mission of the US and other sites,” Gaspard said.
He thanked them for their efforts in keeping the US Embassy staff safe and “to ensure the safety and security of all Americans in South Africa”.
Gaspard said the American citizens who chose to make South Africa their home worked not only at the embassy, but across South Africa.
“They are your neighbours, and members of your schools, businesses and communities. The arrests demonstrate what is possible through co-operation, which keeps citizens of both our countries safe,” he said.
Meanwhile, Discovery Health Medical Aid has confirmed that one of the arrested suspects, Brandon-Lee Thulsie, who allegedly planned to blow up US interests and Jewish institutions, was an employee.
“We can confirm that Mr Thulsie was employed by Discovery in October 2014.”
Discovery condemned any act or attempted act of terrorism, adding that it was co-operating fully with the authorities.
Media reports have suggested that Thulsie had not been at work since June 27 and his access to Discovery’s offices denied.
On Saturday, the Hawks arrested four people during several anti-terror raids across Gauteng.
The Thulsie twins, Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee, arrested in Newclare, Joburg, have been charged with three counts of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
Siblings Ebrahim, 33, and Fatima Patel, 24, arrested in Azaad-ville, near Krugersdorp, have been charged under the Explosives Act and the Firearms Control Act for being in possession of a stun grenade and 21 bullets.
The Patels’ lawyer, Yousha Tayob, said the items were never returned after Ebrahim left the local community policing forum several years ago.
The Patels were on Wednesday granted R5 000 bail each after an urgent application was heard at the high court in Joburg.
They are expected to appear in the Kagiso Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The cases have been separated and the Patels have denied knowing the Thulsie brothers.
Last month, Britain and the US warned of a high threat of terrorist attacks against foreigners at shopping malls in South Africa, but local security officials claimed there were no known militant groups operating in the country.
Source: IOL – Crime
US lauds Hawks for terror arrests