The South African government on Wednesday expressed its displeasure at the way the United States handled the issuing of an alert to its citizens at the weekend, claiming that terrorist groups were planning “near-term” attacks in upscale shopping malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“The information provided as a basis for the latest terror alerts on South Africa has been found to be very sketchy. On closer examination, we have found the information to be dubious, unsubstantiated and provided by a ‘walk-in’ source based on questionable conclusions,” the department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) said in a statement.

“It is within this context that the South African government rejects attempts by foreign countries to influence, manipulate or control our country’s counter-terrorism work.
We reject attempts to generate perceptions of government ineptitude, alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable single source.”

Following the US embassy alert on Saturday, both the UK and Australian embassies updated their travel alerts to citizens travelling to South Africa on Monday.

Dirco said it had sent a démarche to the three embassies to “register our displeasure with the manner in which the matter was handled”.

“South Africa values the political, economic and social ties with these countries and will approach any discussion within the spirit of cooperation and international solidarity,” said Dirco.

“The South African government is fully capable of securing our country, protecting our people and taking care of the safety of foreign citizens on our soil. We expect foreign embassies on our soil to follow the correct channels when communicating matters of such nature.”