Country Report on Terrorism 2009 - Chapter 2 - South Africa

South Africa supported efforts to counter international terrorism and shared financial, law enforcement, and limited intelligence information with the United States. In advance of the 2010 World Cup, there has been closer cooperation between South African and U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies concerning recent terrorist threats against U.S. facilities in South Africa. South Africa’s direct international air links and its permeable land borders made it vulnerable to illegal immigration, trafficking, and international organized crime. Recognizing these vulnerabilities, the Government of South Africa dramatically increased international cooperation on measures to prevent terrorist attacks; it also markedly increased training in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup.

Uneven border security and document fraud continued to hinder the government’s ability to pursue counterterrorism initiatives. Due to a lack of institutional capacity and corruption within the Department of Home Affairs, bona fide South African identity cards, passports, and work/residence permits were sometimes fraudulently issued to unqualified persons and sometimes denied to qualified individuals. Under the leadership of new Minister Dlamini-Zuma, the Department of Home Affairs continued work on a turnaround strategy. Department of Home Affairs initiatives included a counter-corruption strategy and a campaign aimed at accelerating documentation of all bona fide South Africans. The South African government began implementing plans to provide more reliable border security. In preparation for the 2010 World Cup, the government announced that the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) would relieve the South African Police Service (SAPS) and assume responsibility for patrolling major stretches of South Africa’s land border.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Container Security Initiative team located in Durban that works with SARS to screen containers entering and leaving the port for contraband, currency, nuclear materials, and other WMD. SARS is a member of the World Customs Organization and has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection to develop the SARS, Customs Border Control Unit (CBCU), which is modeled after the CBP, Antiterrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (ATCET), and a dedicated corps of law enforcement officers focused on WMD issues.

South Africa cooperated with the United States in exchanging information related to terrorist financing. The two nations have mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties. In early 2009, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) completed a review of South Africa’s compliance with FATF standards for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. The review was generally positive, and noted that the Financial Intelligence Center was functioning effectively. The FATF noted, however, that South Africa could do a better job of regulating trusts, monitoring financial institutions compliance with AML legislation, and enhancing the disclosure of cross-border transfers of cash. South Africa remains the only FATF member in Africa and has one of the three Egmont-member Financial Intelligence Units in the region. It is also a member of Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a regional organization of financial intelligence units, and as such, has served as a resource for other ESAAMLG members. Due in part to strict banking requirements and the cash-driven nature of the South African economy, South Africans sometimes use alternative remittance systems that bypass the formal financial sector.