Although cargo security was a collective responsibility, cargo operators were the only ones who knew what was being transported and should take additional measures, Acsa's CEO said. Picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu
Pretoria – Companies handling cargo with valuables at airports should have their own security measures in place apart from those provided by the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa), its CEO Bongani Maseko said.

He said although cargo security was a collective responsibility, cargo operators were the only ones who knew what was being transported and should take additional measures.

"We encourage cargo companies, especially those who deal with valuables such as cellphones, computers, cash and so on to have own security programmes. We emphasise the fact that it cannot be left solely to the SAPS and Acsa to provide security," Maseko told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.

OR Tambo International Airport had a security forum which included the airlines, police, Acsa and other parties operating at the national key point, he said. The forum meets frequently to evaluate and respond to possible security threats.

The robbery on Tuesday evening saw vehicles occupied by several armed men, some of whom were in police uniforms, access a restricted area of the airport. When requested to validate their credentials, the men produced firearms, rounded up security staff in the security checkpoint and ordered them to lie on the floor, according to Acsa.

The group then proceeded to gain access to the air-side of the airport where they removed an undisclosed amount of money from a sealed container. No shots were fired or injuries reported.

A reported R24 million was stolen during the brazen robbery.

Two police branded vehicles used in the robbery and fitted with blue lights were reportedly found abandoned in Pretoria on Wednesday.

National commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said earlier that the two vehicles were bogus police cars that were not owned by the SAPS.

African News Agency