A SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) employee has been arrested for acts of terrorism relating to the white powder scare at its offices, the Hawks said on Thursday.
“Yesterday afternoon [Wednesday], the Organised Crime Unit of the Hawks in Gauteng arrested a 28-year-old employee of the South African National Road Agency (Sanral) on charges relating to acts of terrorism,” Captain Paul Ramaloko said in a statement.
“The man was arrested at Sanral’s Central Operations Centre in Centurion while on duty. During his arrest a cellphone, suspected of having been an instrument used to commit the offence, was seized.”
Sanral employees were evacuated from their Midrand offices in Gauteng on three different occasions recently after two white powder scares — which turned out to be harmless — and a bomb threat.
“The motive for the suspect’s alleged offence is unknown, investigations are continuing,” said Ramaloko.
The employee is expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges relating to acts of terrorism.
Tracked via cellphone
The employee was tracked down through a call made from his cellphone, the Hawks said.
“We linked him via his cellphone which was used to make a call,” said Captain Paul Ramaloko.
“We are not sure if he was operating the cellphone alone.”
The 28-year-old Soweto man was accused of involvement in two white powder scares and a bomb scare at the SA National Roads Agency Limited headquarters in the past two weeks.
“We are convinced that we netted the mastermind behind all three incidents,” said Ramaloko.
The bomb scare took place on Sunday. The building was evacuated and a sweep carried out. No bomb was found.
The premises was also evacuated on Tuesday and Friday after a suspicious powder, initially feared to be anthrax, was found.
Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) later reported that the substance was harmless, but said it could not comment further as the case was sub judice.