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South Africa - Safe-haven for Hamas, Islamic State and al-Qaeda Terrorists - by Lawrence A. Franklin for the Gatestone Institute - 02.04.24

"The South African government is the same thing as Hamas. It's an Iranian proxy, and its role in the war is to fight the ideological and ideas war to stigmatize Jews around the world. " — Frans Cronje, CEO Race Relations Institute, interview on Chai FM Radio, January 26, 2024.


The ANC's lax monitoring and prosecution of the terrorist presence in South Africa may have been the result of an understanding between the government and terrorist groups not to execute terror operations in the country while permitting fundraising to continue without interference from South African law enforcement agencies.


Adding to South Africa's concerns is the possibility that its citizens waging jihad in Mozambique may eventually return and apply their combat experience at home to target the ANC regime.


South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has close and long-standing ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. As early as 2015, Hamas had developed personal ties with South Africa's then-President Jacob Zuma. In October 2015, the ANC hosted a Hamas delegation led by terrorist mastermind Khaled Mashaal, who met with Zuma in Pretoria.


South Africa might appear to have scored another diplomatic victory propaganda victory by getting the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to accept onto its judicial docket the African state's charge that Israel's presence in the West Bank is an illegal occupation. This recent initiative follows South Africa's December 29, 2023 presentation to the ICJ that Israel's military operations in Gaza were supposedly acts of genocide against the territory's civilian population.


While South Africa's latest grandstand manoeuvre will most likely fail on its lack of merit, the effort did succeed in exposing yet another unsavoury dimension of the relationship between South Africa and the terrorist organization Hamas, which initiated the war against Israel on October 7, 2023.

 

South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has close and long-standing ties to Hamas. As early as 2015, Hamas had developed personal ties with South Africa's then-President Jacob Zuma. In October of that year, the ANC hosted a Hamas delegation led by terrorist mastermind Khaled Mashaal, who met with Zuma in the capital, Pretoria.


Then ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said during the visit that the ANC had signed a "letter of intent" with Hamas, and called Mashaal's visit "very important," adding: "We have an intention of building a long-lasting relationship."


By December 2018, the ANC publicly pledged support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) program. That month, the ANC hosted by another visiting Hamas delegation.


Clandestinely, Hamas has had cells in South Africa since at least 1996. Gaza-based Hamas operatives have maintained close connections with Hamas-supporting groups in South Africa such as Al-Aksa Foundation, Al-Quds Foundation, and the Muslim Judicial Council.


The key go-between for Hamas and South African radical Muslims is Imam Ebrahim Gabriels, who, in his role as fundraiser for Hamas, has met with several Hamas politburo members. Several visits by Hamas delegations to South Africa have included discussions on fundraising, planned attacks on Jewish interests in South Africa, as well as a base for military training of South African Muslims.


After Hamas's murderous October 7 assault on Israeli civilians in towns and villages near Israel's border with Gaza, South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor held a supportive telephone call with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who called from his sanctuary in Qatar. South Africa then further consummated its alliance with the terrorist group with a state visit by President Cyril Ramaphosa to Qatar, Hamas's financier.


Visiting Qatar for the first time in the role of South Africa's president, Ramaphosa met with Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. But Pandor denied rumors advanced by opposition Members of Parliament that the Ramaphosa met with Hamas officials during the visit. Finishing touches on the ICJ scheme were probably already agreed to during what Israel described as a number of cozy meetings held in early December 2023 between ANC politicians and a visiting Hamas delegation.

 

Underscoring the likely role of Iran in helping to orchestrate the anti-Israel ICJ scheme was the presence at these final meetings, which took place on December 6, of the Hamas representative in Iran, Khaled Qadoumi. Iran's role in the disingenuous ICJ case against Israel is indicative of still another weapon waged by the Islamic Republic against Israel and the West, while employing and exploiting the West's liberal institutions.


In the months leading up to the October 7 Hamas attack, the ANC headquarters and even its youth wing, were reportedly near bankruptcy ANC coffers needed to be refilled in light of a national election this coming May. As political forecasting indicates that the ANC's popularity is diminishing, its need for more money would seem especially significant. Inexplicably, ANC notables recently have suggested that the party's finances have stabilized. Reports state that Iran may have pumped cash into ANC bank accounts:


"High-profile South African activists such as former Institute of Race Relations CEO Frans Cronje and Accountability Now Director Paul Hoffman both said that reports are emerging that Iran fixed the ANC's finance problem.


"'The South African government is the same thing as Hamas. It's an Iranian proxy, and its role in the war is to fight the ideological and ideas war to stigmatize Jews around the world,'" Cronje during an interview on Chai FM Radio."


The ANC's lax monitoring and prosecution of the terrorist presence in South Africa may have been the result of an understanding between the government and terrorist groups not to execute terror operations in the country while permitting fundraising to continue without interference from South African law enforcement agencies.


An alleged declassified report issued by South Africa's National Intelligence Agency indicates that terrorist groups have decided to refrain from perpetrating attacks in the country, and instead exploit it for the purpose of rear-area fundraising. The ANC-led South African government, in power since the end of apartheid in 1994, has apparently made the country a haven for terrorist cells chiefly involved with raising funds for terrorist operations in sub-Saharan Africa.


Last year, the US Treasury Department's Financial Anti-Terrorism Task Force (FATF) designated South Africa as a "grey list" country for its feckless enforcement of anti-terrorism laws and for its permissive policies concerning money-laundering by terrorist groups. Designation as a "grey list" country undoubtedly has a negative impact upon international corporate confidence in investment.


Islamic State cells in South Africa have used the country to raise funds for its terrorist operations, particularly in Mozambique. These Islamic State and al-Qaeda networks have funded terrorist operations throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The ISIS presence in South Africa has financially supported its affiliates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Burkina Faso, and Mozambique.


South Africa's good fortune is to have been almost entirely free from terrorist incidents on its soil in the last few years. This good fortune, however, may soon end. South Africa also has benefited by ideologically motivated South African citizen volunteers joining the jihadist war in Mozambique, but not engaging in terrorism at home – yet. These South African Islamist recruits have joined Ansar al-Sunnah wa Jamma (Islamic State-Mozambique), a group that conduct attacks on non-Muslim civilians, as well as Western and South African oil exploration projects off Mozambique's east coast.


South Africa, despite its warm relations with Hamas terrorists, has been quick to defend its interests by dispatching combat troops to fight against Islamic jihadists in Mozambique. Adding to South Africa's concerns is the possibility that its citizens waging jihad in Mozambique may eventually return and apply their combat experience at home to target the ANC regime.



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Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.


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