Pretoria — State Security Minister David Mahlobo has reiterated government’s resolve to ensure South Africa remains safe and secure from terrorism.
The Minister has also reassured South Africans that the country will not allow itself to be used as a recruitment platform.
This comes after a 15-year-old school girl from Cape Town was removed from a flight to Johannesburg by police at the weekend under the suspicion that she was going to board an international flight from Johannesburg to join the Islamic State (IS).
Minister Mahlobo said the police were alerted by the family and responsible South Africans of the disappearance of the teenager from Cape Town.
Information was operationalised by law enforcement agencies and airport security establishments, leading to the successful discovery of the teenager on a Johannesburg bound flight.
“We are grateful to all operational security personnel involved. The family of the young girl has been spoken to and after being debriefed by officials the young girl has been released back into the care of her family.
“An investigation is underway to determine further issues pertaining to recruitment and funding methods,” the Minister said on Tuesday.
It is believed the youth was actively engaging with IS recruiters on social media networks.
The Minister said although the advent of cyber technology provided numerous opportunities for development – it also posed certain risks associated with cybercrime and cyber bullying, amongst others.
Minister Mahlobo called on members of the community and parents to exercise caution and be concerned about what activities their children may be involved with.
“The recruitment and radicalisation of particularly young people to take part in acts of terror is a growing global concern and local law enforcement agencies will continue to work hard in clamping these from materialising,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs said the recent amendments to South Africa’s immigration law and the promulgation of the new immigration regulations were meant to help in curbing incidents of this nature, particularly those specific requirements for travelling with children under the age of 18 and those regulating what is required for a minor to travel alone.
The new immigration regulations took effect last year. However a postponement of the requirement for unabridged birth certificates and written permission was granted, until 1 June 2015.
This was to give the public and business the opportunity to internalise the new regulations.
The department has urged all citizens and other nationalities to support the smooth implementation of these requirements for protecting children as they come into effect on 1 June 2015.