UPDATE: OR Tambo Airport to get dedicated security task team

2017-07-11 08:36 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - The issue of safety and security at OR Tambo International airport has come under fire following a growing crime wave at South Africa’s busiest airport.

South Africa's Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula met with key security cluster officials at the airport on Monday 10 July to discuss the issue, including the Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo and the MEC of Community Safety, Ms Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane. 

Mbalula says he was shocked at the lack of security at the national key point, which saw more than 21m passengers transit through in 2016 alone, during a visit on 6 June 2017 to meet with Airport Management.

SEE: OR Tambo International crime is simply 'embarrassing'

He has since assigned a special task team to monitor the brazen crime wave, which largely involves inside jobs" due to bribery and corruption amongst the police and work force in and around the airport. 

Mbalula says just before the briefing took place he was notified of an armed robbery of a truck containing valuable goods coming from the airport was hijacked.  

SEE: OR Tambo heightens security as multi-million rand robbery details emerge

He stressed the need for better vetting of staff and the need for effective prosecution similar to the strategy of the 2010 Soccer World Cup to deal with police officers who are in "cahoots with criminals”.

OR Tambo will be getting its own Major General to lead security operations at the airport. Added to this the City of Ekurhuleni will deploy more EMPD officers to assist in curbing crime wave at OR Tambo. 

Mbalula stressed the need to address non-existent tactical crime intelligence at the airport  

A joint deployment to OR Tambo will include crime intelligence, the Hawks, and detectives who will operate from the airport and monitored the situation on a daily basis as part of the new "masterplan for security".

A follow-up meeting will be held with all government agencies within the security cluster next Friday, 21 July 2017.

SEE: Airport transit safety: 20 tourists robbed at Paris airport hotel as SA authorities discuss OR Tambo crime surge

Some of the recent crimes include:

- 1 April cash in transit heist saw a vehicle blown up with explosives on the R24 highway

- On 7 May a R20m armed robbery saw criminals impersonating police officers

- On 1 April cash in transit heist saw a vehicle blown up with explosives on the R24 highway

- On the 15th May, a high-jacking and murder took place at the airport

- On 1st of July there was a Swissport warehouse armed robbery 

- 8 July couple followed and robbed of R50k in luggage and goods

“We therefore want to be clear in sending a strong message to criminals and those corrupt police officials who are in cahoots with criminals, that your days are numbered.  We will not tolerate a state of lawlessness where criminals do as they please in our country,” says Mbalula.

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