Pretoria – Police Minister Bheki Cele on Monday said there is no evidence to support the assertion that any of the tavern attacks in South Africa, which left more than 20 people dead over the weekend, are acts of terrorism.
“For some reason, we had a bloody weekend in the country. As 15 people were killed here, you know that two people were killed at Katlehong, four people were killed in Pietermaritzburg, two people were killed in Inanda, two young people were killed at Duncan Village. It was just a bloody weekend,” Cele spoke to journalists in Soweto.
He said that even though there are suggestions that the attacks were coordinated, there is no information to support the assertion.
“We believe that they (the attacks) coincided rather than being coordinated. Do we believe that there is terrorism as it was labelled? We do not believe that it is terrorism. It is criminality that is brutal, violent. Terrorism is a high level of criminality (which is) organised,” said Cele.
“We would have to have some evidence, as the police, to be able to say so. Otherwise, we would really be speculating in a very serious manner. So we do not believe it is terrorism.”
Reacting to the brutal murders, the State of Qatar had caused quite a stir when it added its voice to the numerous entities condemning the Soweto tavern attack.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “strongly condemned” the incident, which happened shortly after midnight on Sunday.
“The State of Qatar expresses its strong condemnation and denunciation of the shooting incident, which took place in the suburb of Soweto in the city of Johannesburg in South Africa and led to deaths and injuries.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms the State of Qatar’s firm position on the rejection of violence and terrorism, regardless of the motives and reasons,” the statement added.
“The Ministry expresses the State of Qatar’s condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of South Africa.”
However, apart from the several social media users in South Africa who questioned how Soweto was described as a “suburb”, the Qatar statement sparked some consternation online, with the majority of respondents taking issue with the categorisation of the incident as a terror attack.S