No need to panic over safety of embassies

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cape Town - Government has assured the public that South African embassies are safe, and that it is working with the United States (US) authorities to establish the reason behind their decision to close their embassy and other offices in the country.

The US embassy in Pretoria and offices around the country closed its doors on Tuesday based on information about a security threat received from its regional security office.

Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Wednesday it was not a good situation for the country to be in as it created the impression that South Africa was not a safe place.

"We want to reiterate that all our embassies are safe. South Africans have no reason to worry; there is no threat that government is aware of to South Africans or any country working in this particular country."

He said Cabinet was aware of the decision by US authorities and government was working with authorities to establish the nature of the threat.

"We are not sure if there is a real threat, US authorities think that there is. All we can say is that there is contact at the highest level between the US and the South African governments. It will be premature to say anything further."

He said the embassy and other offices would be reopened only once the US authorities felt that the matter had been dealt with to their satisfaction.