The Department of International Relations and Co-operation says that as far as it can ascertain, no South Africans were injured during Wednesday’s attack in the British capital, when a man rammed his car into pedestrians outside Parliament before fatally stabbing a police officer.
“The South African embassy in London is monitoring the situation and will report back to us as soon as there is any new information about whether South Africans were involved,” the department’s Nelson Kgwete told Netwerk24 on Wednesday night.
Five people, including the suspected attacker, died in the attack at Parliament which British Prime Minister Theresa May described as a “sick and depraved terrorist attack”.
Charlotte van Fowler, a South African who has been living in London since 2002, said when she received a message on her phone about the unfolding incident, she immediately thought of the attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, in which 12 people died.
Van Fowler is a manager at a cleaning company in Trafalgar Square, which is about 1km from where the attack took place.
She said she locked the store and informed staff after she’d received the message. They were shocked, she said.
“It could have been worse,” she said. “We have a lot to be grateful for.”
However, she was “shocked” that the attack had been possible, given the strong police presence in the area.
She added that she’d attended several courses on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.