10 airport security officers fired and arrested for stealing

Airports Company SA (Acsa) senior manager Betty Maloka said this was one of the actions taken against transgressors as part of peak-season security operations.
Airports Company SA (Acsa) senior manager Betty Maloka said this was one of the actions taken against transgressors as part of peak-season security operations.
Image: Esa Alexander / Sunday Times

Ten security officers were fired after being found in possession of stolen items, including alcohol and juices, at OR Tambo International Airport.

Airports Company SA (Acsa) senior manager Betty Maloka said this was one of the actions taken against transgressors as part of peak-season security operations.

Maloka said they expected more than 3.6 million passengers to fly in and out of the airport during the festive season.

She said the Friday before Christmas and the first Friday in January were expected to have high passenger volumes.

"Security has been ramped up with additional members being provided by the police and licensed security contractors," Maloka said.

Among the measures being taken are random stop-and-search operations of people working in and around the airport; and using additional staff to monitor several hundred CCTV cameras in real time.

"Staff with permits to work on the airside [the entire zone of an airport past customs control, passport check-in and security check zone] are not only subject to random stops and searches but are also subject to intensified searches at access points, both entering and leaving access-controlled areas.

"Baggage wagons and other vehicles being used airside are being randomly stopped, with drivers subject to questioning and inspections."

The security operations have so far also resulted in:

  • The arrests of 10 people for contravening the Civil Aviation Act and for trespassing;
  • Alcohol wrapped in blankets and thrown over a fence being handed to the SA Police Service for further investigation;
  • Damaged fencing in an area where the alcohol was found during perimeter inspections, which has been repaired;
  • Officers of a licensed security contractor apprehending two foreigners in toilets, who were found with fraudulent passports. They were handed over to the police and a case opened;
  • Security officers apprehending a foreigner trying to enter SA illegally. He was arrested and handed over to the police;
  • Workers for two contractors found removing items from an airside rubbish dump, arrested and handed over to the police; and
  • A security officer employed by an international airline found with 47 bottles of liquor miniatures when stopped and searched. He was arrested and has appeared in court.

Maloka said airlines, ground-handling companies and law-enforcement agencies were collaborating extensively with airport managers to ensure a successful holiday season.

"We are cautiously optimistic that we are well-placed to mitigate security risks and maintain technical, engineering and IT systems to prevent unnecessary delays," she said.

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