Parliament Committee worried by reports of young South Africans wanting to join terror groups

MAY 7, 2015

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation is concerned about the reported cases of young South Africans wanting to join insurgent organisations such as the Islamic State (also called ISIS).

The Chairperson of the Committee, Siphosezwe Masango, says the phenomenon is a threat to a stable continent as envisaged in African Agenda2063 – Africa’s long-term vision for development under conditions of peace.

“This phenomenon points to a deeper need to educate young South Africans and Africans about their continent. The impact of insurgency is mainly felt in Africa and the Middle East where ordinary citizens are maimed daily, many children are orphaned, and infrastructure destroyed,” said Mr Masango.

During the budget vote on State Security on Tuesday, Minister David Mahlobo indicated that “it was impossible to estimate the scale of the issue because South Africans have freedom of movement and could be sneaking out as tourists.”

A 15-year-old had recently been turned back at the Cape Town International Airport en-route to join Syria’s IS.

“The African Union (AU), as well as all regional bodies – Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – have a role to play in ensuring that young Africans are conscious of their identity, colonial history, and the drive to make their future better,” Mr Masango said.

“Once in full swing, African Agenda2063 will address inter alia the shortage of skills, joblessness, inadequate infrastructure and underdevelopment, and rekindle industrialisation.”

He says for Agenda2063 to succeed, peace and stability on the continent are a conditio sine qua non (of critical importance).