Durban - The mayor of Newcastle, Afzul Rahman, said he was not concerned about a terror attack during Ramadaan this month after a researcher singled out the northern KwaZulu-Natal town as one of the centres where the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) was recruiting.

The US government at the weekend warned it had received information that terrorist groups were planning attacks in shopping areas where its citizens congregate in South Africa.

Responding to the US warning, a director at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, Jasmine Opperman, said face-to-face recruiters were now active in Newcastle, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

“The next step… is the formation of recruitment cells. And Morocco, Spain and Europe have proved that once you have recruitment cells, the operation of these cells to take active action is the next step. South Africa’s vulnerability is increasing and it is time to act, now,” said Opperman.