Following a saga of heists and other organised crimes which occurred within and surrounding OR Tambo International Airport, government has set forth to implement several measures with the specific aim of combating rampant crime around the country’s busiest entry point.
Revised strategies in hiring personnel, intensified tactical response and increased police and security presence, are the focal plans to step-up the needed fight against crime in the airport district.
“Everybody working here will be vetted and rotated. Those who are not needed will be asked to step aside. There will be extra deployment of personnel. The honeymoon is over for those stationed here for more than 10 years,” Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Monday.
Minister Mbalula held a meeting with the SAPS management, State Security and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Departments at the airport to discuss challenges at the airport.
“What you see here will be intensified going forward. Our tactical response will be upped”, added Mbalula. “We are unleashing all our important units to keep watch at the airport”.
“Things won’t be business as usual. This new security strategy won’t be seasonal- but it is here to stay. The dangerous criminals must know we have an appointment with them. It is going to be a very horrible experience for them. If they come with their guns, they must pray to Satan because they will meet our forces on the ground. This is not just war-talk, this is real.”
Mbalula fervently reiterated that plans and strategies will be revised daily to avoid any information leaking to unwelcome ears.
The most prominent incident this year was a brazen cash heist in March where millions of rand were stolen‚ allegedly with the help of some police officers.
In May, a motorist was shot dead by a brazen group of criminals while driving towards the airport. Preliminary reports indicated that the driver of the Hyundai H1 was transporting a group of six business people from Johannesburg to the airport, and en route, at least one vehicle attempted to flag them down before shooting the driver.
In February, 271kg of cocaine with a street value of R78 million was confiscated at the airport. The drugs were en route from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Nairobi, Kenya, and found in a cargo warehouse during routine operations. This was labelled the biggest ever cocaine bust by customs officials in South Africa.
Minister Mbalula said some of these crimes could have easily been foiled and prevented had it not been for the security forces at the airport who were corrupt.