Mbalula unleashes big guns on airport crime
POLICE Minister Fikile Mbalula believes most crimes at OR Tambo International Airport are inside jobs and has vowed to bring changes to security personnel there.
This comes in the wake of three suspects, including a police officer, who appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Friday in connection with their alleged involvement in a R20.7 million heist at the airport in March.
The trio – France Manaka‚ Simon Tlhokwane and Philokuhle Ntanzi‚ have been charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances.
“Those police officers who are corrupt and who have been doing their things in a clandestine manner, we will find them in the plan we will be rolling out as of next week,” he said.
Mbalula was speaking after his meeting with State Security Minister David Mahlobo at the airport yesterday to assess the security there.
He said many of the crimes committed at the airport were inside jobs, while adding that police and some security officials accepted bribes.
Mbalula said the initiative was aimed at exposing corrupt officials deployed at the airport.
He explained that they would be reshuffling officers and security guards at the airport after realising there were loopholes in its security system.
“That’s why we rotate people here, because some of the people have been here for 10 years and they don’t want to leave.
“Clearly there are benefits to being based at the airport. But they too have to be checked… not just the police officers but everyone (working) here,” he said.
“We have noted all the gaps in terms of what is happening at the airport‚ which is mainly issues of corruption and collusion.”
The minister added that leadership would play an important role to help curb crime at the airport.
“All our police entities are going to conduct a joint operation with regard to what needs to be done.
“I can assure you that criminals are not going to be on holiday. We are going to make it very unpleasant, and not only that‚ but we are going to clean out this place to zero (crime)‚” said Mbalula.
“The criminals who come here are heavily armed and dangerous, so we can’t respond to them with broomsticks.
“We have realised that most of the time they manage to escape when the reports come in. That’s why we are going to unleash our Tactical Response Team. We will give them what they want.”
ENOUGH: Fikile Mbalula