Armed robbers stormed a secured unit of the airport on Tuesday night before making off with an estimated R24-million.
Johannesburg - The Hawks and police are following leads that could lead to the arrest of suspects involved in the heist at OR Tambo International Airport this week.

Armed robbers stormed a secured unit of the airport on Tuesday night before making off with an estimated R24-million. No arrests have been made.

“We got a lot of leads but we we can’t really reveal them at this stage. At the same time, the task team is working 24 hours to try and deal with the mystery behind the robbery," Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

“For us, it is to make sure that those who are responsible are apprehended as soon as possible."

Armed men allegedly dressed in police uniform and driving marked police vehicles entered the cargo unit of the airport.

At the security gate, they were apparently stopped for a routine check but allegedly held up the guards at gunpoint. The robbers proceeded to the air-side of the airport, where they stole money from a sealed container.

They fled without firing a shot. No one was reportedly injured. On Wednesday, two of the cars reportedly used in the heist were found in Mamelodi outside Pretoria. Police said that those vehicles were not registered vehicles in their fleet.

“Bogus police vehicles were used in the commission of the crime. Those were not police-owned vehicles maybe you can ask business people out there who do vehicle markings about this,” acting national police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane told the media.

“The suspects were armed and had one thing on their mind – to take whatever they came for.”

Police and Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) were investigating a possibility of an inside job.

Exactly 10 years ago, another heist happened at OR Tambo International, with armed robbers then stealing more than R100m.

A senior Acsa official and two employees, including one working in the airport surveillance unit, were involved.

The High Court in Johannesburg found that the surveillance unit official had diverted Acsa's cameras before the robbers escaped.

During investigations, a number of security guards meant to be on duty were also linked and were also sentenced for their role. Their imprisonment terms range from eight to 22 years.

Sunday Independent