MBOMBELA – A former ANC counter-intelligence operative approached the Gauteng government last year with explosive allegations that schoolchildren are being recruited by Islamic radicals for paramilitary training in Pakistan.
They target the more impoverished children who are more susceptible to indoctrination, Lowvelder was told.
According to the operative, Mike Naraine (not his real name), he held a meeting in September last year with the Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi, his CFO Johan van Coller and the CD: risk and compliance management, Stephina Selepe-Khubedu, and conveyed his concern regarding the exploitation of young schoolchildren. He also handed them certain documentation outlining the allegations as well as sworn affidavits as proof.
“I provided the information to the MEC because the authorities need to be made aware of the dangers facing our children,” Naraine told Lowvelder.
He approached Lowvelder after realising that the authorities seemed unwilling to act on his information.
According to Naraine, the involved Pakistani nationals in South Africa have an embedded network that they use to bribe from immigration officials to generals in the police.
“They operate overtly under the guise of a local Pakistani organisation in South Africa, but the group’s covert operation falls under Sipah-e-Sahaba, a radical organisation regarded in Pakistan as a Sunni supremacist group at war with the minority Shia Muslim grouping in the country,” he said.
In South Africa the organisation established a madrassa in Lenasia, Johannesburg, and converted it into a religious school to recruit black children to be taught to become Muslims. They teach the children in Urdu and when they reach the age of 15 or 16 years they send them to Pakistan for paramilitary training, he said.
Once back in South Africa, the trained children target other children to join and fight against other religions with the pure objective of creating the climate for the establishment of Sharia law in particular areas of the country.
Certain Pakistanis and Bangladeshis running spaza shops and other small businesses in the townships and rural areas have to donate an amount of their earnings to the jihadi cause and there are representatives of Sipah-e-Sahaba that go around on a monthly basis and collect these “donations”.
The takings are transported to Fordsburg in Johannesburg where the South African currency is exchanged for US dollars and laundered through the neighbouring states to Dubai and from there to Pakistan.
Another goal of the syndicate’s members is to infiltrate government departments, Naraine explained.
Sipah-se-Sahaba’s frontman in South Africa, whose identity is known to Lowvelder, is a Pakistani national with two wives in Pakistan. To date he married 23 women in South Africa. He smuggles illegal Pakistanis through Dubai into South Africa.
They are met at Lahore International Airport in Pakistan, flown to Dubai and from there to Tanzania.
From there the illegals are transported by road through northern Mozambique all the way down to an area near Komatipoort from where they are assisted in infiltrating into South Africa.
“At Komatipoort they are kept overnight at safe houses until transport is arranged, ferrying them to Kempton Park.
“Then on to Fordsburg from where the newcomers are dispersed all over the country and merely disappear into the woodwork,” Naraine said.
The office of the MEC did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.