Terrorism charges withdrawn against Sanral employee

A South African court provisionally withdrew terrorism charges on Friday against an employee of the South African National Roads Agency after his arrest last week.

The employee, a resident of Soweto, works at Sanral's Central Operations Centre in Centurion. The 28-year-old was arrested on charges related to acts of terrorism. The charges were provisionally withdrawn because of a lack of evidence, South African Press Agency reports.

The suspect appeared briefly in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Friday. The South African Police Service's Organized Crime Unit of the Hawks in Gauteng arrested the suspect after a cell phone believed to have been used to alert police about a bomb at the Sanral office was found in the suspect's possession.

"We are convinced that we netted the mastermind behind all three incidents," Paul Ramaloko, a spokesman for the Hawks, said, according to SAPA.

The arrest came after three recent incidents in which Sanral employees were evacuated from the facility as a result of threats. In one instance, the Sanral facility was evacuated because of a bomb scare. Police conducted a sweep but found no bomb on the premises.

Two other evacuations occurred after an unidentified substance was found in the building. White powder, which some thought might be deadly anthrax, was seized by police. The substance later proved to be harmless, SAPA reports.