Johannesburg – In what seemed like a spy film or Ocean's Eleven-style heist, a multi-million rand robbery at OR Tambo International Airport has left officials dumbfounded.
On Wednesday morning, the Hawks confirmed that there is a serious and high-level investigation into Tuesday night's robbery.
Reports indicate that over R20 million in US Dollars was stolen after what’s been described as a marked police car stopping the vehicle transporting the cash bound for an SAA flight travelling overseas.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said he was unable to confirm the exact amount of money stolen but said this “daring robbery” had taken place in the cargo section of the airport.
“It wasn’t in the place where you have passengers and people getting on and off flights. The cargo area is a restricted area and there is a high-level of security. This is why we are so concerned as to how this could have happened,” he said.
Mulaudzi reiterated that this was a serious matter and they were working very closely with police, airport security and Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) to get to the bottom of this situation.
“Today we will be having a meeting to dissect what happened and discuss new or further information,” he added.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed that a robbery incident involving “high value cargo” destined to fly on one of its international flights had taken place.
“There were no flight delays of any nature yesterday or this morning,” he said.
In a statement, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) said that it could confirm that an armed robbery occurred at OR Tambo on Tuesday night at about 7.45pm.
“No shots were fired and no injuries have been reported. South African Police Service and Acsa is working closely with other security agencies to apprehend the suspects,” it said in the statement.
“The investigation is at an early stage. Updates will be provided when more information is available,” Acsa added.
Commenting on social media, some people were sure that this was an inside job while others were quite shocked.
Bra Tsholoz Hope said that “this was a set-up”, while @Lady_Laxo said it was very clean.
“Too clean in fact. This #ORTamboRobbery was on some Italian Job vibes. SA organised crime just went on a whole new level,” she said.
A confused @andile_dzingwa tweeted: “So they telling us some people took 24 Million rands and just vanished into thin air?”
@_BLACKMAN_M seemed unphased about the circumstances surrounding the heist.
“So they say they were wearing police uniforms, this is SA they could be actual cops,” he said.
Others were saying that it was like a scene out of a movie like The Italian Job, The Inside Man or even a spy movie like James Bond.
In 2006, R100 million was stolen was stolen during a meticulously planned heist at the airport which was deemed one of South Africa's biggest ever recorded robberies.