Acsa slams claim OR Tambo is drug con­duit

Pretoria News - - METRO - FRANCESCA VILLETTE

THE Air­ports Com­pany of SA (Acsa) has slammed Hong Kong Chap­lain John Wotherspoo­n’s sug­ges­tion that there has been a rise in drug traf­fick­ing cases via OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Acsa spokesper­son Betty Maloka yes­ter­day said the claim caused rep­u­ta­tional dam­age for the air­port and South Africa. “The rel­e­vant agen­cies re­spon­si­ble for de­tect­ing and pre­vent­ing drug traf­fick­ing and trade in il­licit goods as set out in leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tions are aware of the report, and are at­tend­ing to the mat­ter.

“Our man­date and re­spon­si­bil­ity is to safe­guard civil avi­a­tion against un­law­ful in­ter­fer­ence,” Maloka said.

In a state­ment this week, Wotherspoo­n al­leged that 20% of all peo­ple ar­rested at Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Air­port in 2018 and last year for the pos­ses­sion of il­le­gal sub­stances had brought drugs from Joburg.

In the same state­ment, Pa­tri­cia Ger­ber, of the NPO South Africans Locked Up in For­eign Coun­tries, al­leged 100 peo­ple ar­rested at the Mau­ri­tius Air­port since 2017 and jailed or re­manded in cus­tody, had brought drugs via OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Maloka said no pro­hib­ited items were al­lowed on board an air­craft that could be used to per­pe­trate an act of un­law­ful in­ter­fer­ence to civil avi­a­tion such as hi­jack­ing, acts of ter­ror­ism, ex­plo­sions and other threats.

“The man­date to pre­vent drug traf­fick­ing and all other as­pects of crim­i­nal­ity re­sides with the SAPS. The preven­tion of trade in il­licit goods is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Cus­toms and Ex­cise di­vi­sion of Sars.”

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