Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane explained today, in a briefing held in Pretoria, that there is little reason to believe that the perpetrators of the OR Tambo heist were in any way aided by members of the South Africa Police Service (Saps).
“Although initial speculation pointed to the use of Saps vehicles to carry out the heist, the vehicle found abandoned in Mamelodi proved to be one with fake police markings”, said Phahlane.
Phahlane added that they believe the uniforms used in the heist would also therefore be counterfeit, but that a due investigation would occur once the suspects were apprehended.
“We would not be surprised to learn that some of [the perpetrators] were bogus police officers”, said Phahlane. “Should we find evidence of any type of police collusion we will take decisive action”.
The heist which occurred on Tuesday night in a supposedly secure cargo wing of the airport, is the seventh in a line of high-level cargo related robberies since last year alone. This according to the Air Cargo Operators Committee.
The robbers made off with around 20 million rand in foreign currency, bypassing security protocols and checkpoints at the airport much to the surprise of the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa).
Acsa has since the beginning not denied the potential of an inside job, yet remains optimistic that the culprits will be found and arrested accordingly.
The saga has, however, brought into question the competence and capability of airport security at OR Tambo International which remains a hub for domestic and international flights.
The hawks have assembled a senior task force to investigate the matter further.
The security at OR Tambo has since been heightened and traffic of flights and travellers has resumed normality.