JSPA condemns anthrax scare in Pretoria

Chemical or biological attacks, real or faked, are acts of terrorism and cowardice, the Justice Project South Africa said on Tuesday in response to a Pretoria white powder scare.

JPSA made the statement after the South African National Roads Agency Limited's operations center in Pretoria was shut down following the discovery of white powder in an envelope. According to Electronic Toll Collection, biological analysis of the powder found it was not anthrax, the South African Press Association reports.

The scare came on Tuesday afternoon after a suspicious envelope containing a white substance was found on the Sanral premises. The building was evacuated and shut down and 37 people were decontaminated and hospitalized as a precautionary measure.

The incident disrupted the Gauteng highway tolling system, causing some service interruptions at Sanral's call center.

"We do not believe that Sanral's description of this heinous act as 'bordering on a serious crime' was nearly strong enough," Howard Dembovsky, the chairperson for JPSA, said, according to SAPA. "Hoax or real, JPSA condemns this incident in the strongest possible terms and wishes all Sanral employees affected by this incident well."

Dembovsky also suggested that if the fake attack shut down the tolling system because no one was able to man it, perhaps the system was not as highly-automated and infallible as the people were led to believe. He said the government should order an immediate investigation into the entities that installed such a technologically vulnerable system, SAPA reports.

The Justice Project South Africa is a non-profit involved in the prevention of corruption and power abuses in law enforcement.