UPDATE: OR Tambo clamping down on illegal activities

2017-08-14 08:53 - Gabi Zeitsman
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Cape Town - Management of OR Tambo International Airport says that the implementation of the integrated multi-disciplinary tactical security plan announced on 21 July is progressing well and showing some encouraging early results.

A number of suspects have been arrested at the airport in the past two weeks in connection with interceptions of shipments of drugs and rhino horn as well as vehicle theft.

SEE: 7th key rhino horn bust in SA for 2017 as Zim woman nabbed at OR Tambo

“The strategic and operational support from the Ministries of Police, State Security, Transport and Home Affairs, as well as from the Ekurhuleni Metro and others, is proving instrumental in driving this results-oriented effort,” says Leigh Gunkel-Keuler, spokesperson for OR Tambo International Airport.

“OR Tambo International Airport commends all the law enforcement agencies concerned and looks forward to sustained success in combating crime in and around the airport,” she said.

Two significant arrests were made by Customs and Excise and the South African Police Service on Saturday. The suspects in two separate interceptions were arrested for the illegal possession of narcotics with street values of several millions of rand.

It was established that while the suspects work at the airport, they are directly employed by ground handling companies, Menzies and Swissport respectively, said Gunkel-Keuler.

ALSO SEE: US issues safety alert for SA due to OR Tambo crime wave

She says scrutiny of people working at the airport across all jobs and employers can be expected to increase.

“OR Tambo International Airport is in many ways like a small city. We have more than 21 million passengers landing or departing every year. It takes more than 35 000 people working at the airport for different service providers and stakeholders to keep things running smoothly.”

Gunkel-Keuler says only 1 200 of these people are directly employed by the airport with the rest spread across retail, public transport, airlines, ground handling, vehicle rental, financial services, hospitality, hotels and government agencies such as Home Affairs and SARS.

“Security operations can therefore be complicated at times. However, we continue to intensify a variety of security measures that include background checks and interviews of people working at the airport. Over time these checks will be conducted repeatedly on each person and at short notice on a schedule that is not easy to anticipate,” she said.

Daily interactions at operational level among a large number of agencies and people is benefiting from strong ministerial involvement and support, says Gunkel-Keuler. “Airport management anticipates further successes as additional elements of the crime strategy are implemented in the coming months,” she said

WATCH: Road access to OR Tambo to be limited in new safety plan

Traveller24 has reached for comment on the proposed road closures around the airport which aims to limit easy access to OR Tambo, but no update is available as of yet.

We asked readers how they would feel about more limitations imposed on access to the international airport, by requiring a passport to enter any airport, similar to many Asian airports.

Most responded negatively to it, with reader Adele Brown citing that "travelling is already a pain now you want to make it even worse. What about kids that can't get passports due to one parent not present in their lives?"

Another reader thought it will affect business at the airport. 

Share your views on the matter with us, email info@Traveller24.com

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