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OR Tambo worried over spate of follow-homes and robberies

Gauteng

Johannesburg – OR Tambo International Airport has voiced its concern over the continued follow-homes and subsequent robberies taking place across Gauteng.

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File picture: Mujahid Safodien/AP

"We are concerned about incidents of crime in the vicinity of the airport and against people followed to their destinations from the airport.

“The safety and security of passengers and visitors to OR Tambo International Airport remains of paramount importance to airport management. We are therefore particularly concerned by the latest occurrence of follow-home crime in which two people were shot and wounded,” said Leigh Gunkel-Keuler, spokesperson for ORTambo International Airport.

“It is our understanding that there is a high level of awareness of these matters within the South African Police Services (SAPS), which has the responsibility for preventing and investigating crime in and around the airport.

"As airport management we continue to engage with the SA Police Services (SAPS) on these matters and attempt to effectively communicate the concerns that we hear from the public. In addition, we provide any assistance we can to the efforts of the SAPS to prevent crime that is connected to the airport in some way,” said Gunkel-Keuler.

Kamal Shivanand, Acting Senior Manager, Aviation Security Services at OR Tambo International Airport said that from their perspective of what is required of the airport, their mandate is to control access into restricted areas and to screen passengers, hand luggage and hold baggage.

"Our task is to ensure the safe and secure facilitation of passengers in our airport as it relates to the first level screening of passengers, which includes the use of scanning machines, baggage screening and trace detection.

"All this is done in order to ensure passenger safety and we are frequently subjected to independent evaluation,” he said

“With the airport being a national key point, all other safety and security measures are the responsibility of the SAPS (as mandated by the National Key Points Act) and from a road traffic law enforcement perspective, the Ekhureleni Metro Police Department," Shivanand explained

The Airport further explained that an airport is a complex facility within which many stakeholders operate. Typically, only about 10% to 15% of people working at an airport anywhere in the world are directly employed by the airport company.

"Therefore efforts in regard to safety and security need to be carefully synchronised. Further, it is important to note that certain key stakeholders are not accountable to airport management in the execution of their safety and security mandate," it said.

Gunkel-Keuler emphasised that as part of a constructive approach to supporting the stakeholders in the security realm, they participate in collaborative decision making around safety and security.

"This includes other law enforcement agencies (such as the SAPS) being held responsible and accountable for the overall safety and security of passengers and visitors.

"We also continuously engage the EMPD at our regular meetings on their mandate to implement by-laws and manage road traffic in Ekurhuleni,” she concluded.

Meanwhile Uber released a statement confirming that although the driver affected in Sunday's follow-home and robbery in Morningside was an Uber driver-partner, he was not online during the incident.

"It was a private trip arranged between the riders and driver and therefore this was not an Uber trip as it was not booked through the Uber app," it said.

On Sunday morning a couple from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were both shot and seriously injured outside a hotel in Morningside.

Sunday's incident comes after a string of follow-homes and robberies that have hit Gauteng hard as business people and tourists have been the main targets.

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The Star

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