Providing safe return from airport
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THE RISE in crimes committed around OR Tambo International Airport, including people being followed home from the airport and robbed, has spawned an interesting and lucrative business.
Vision Tactical is a security company that began in October 2014, which provides private security to homes and businesses in Houghton, Killarney, Norwood and other suburbs in northern Joburg.
Recently, the company expanded its security services to include airport escorts, because according to the company’s owner, Yaseen Theba, clients started becoming nervous about coming back from the airport and asked for vehicles to be stationed on driveways outside their homes for safety purposes.
“Then certain people felt nervous about landing at night or early mornings and asked if we could provide a guard inside the car that was going to pick them up.
HAPPY ABOUT THE SERVICE: Dharmisha Makan speaks about her experience being followed back home from the airport.
Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips
“But we prefer using our own vehicles to follow our clients, because in the event something happens, we have our rifles and guns in the car.
"If it’s a family pick-up, we don't like to have firearms in the vehicle when there are children. We prefer following a vehicle and ensuring that a family get home safely,” Theba explained.
Last Monday, a man was shot dead just outside OR Tambo International Airport’s drop-off area, in what was believed to have been a botched hijacking.
It was this report that convinced Dharmisha Makan to use the escort service for the first time when she and a friend came back from India last week.
“As two women travelling on our own, we definitely felt safe just to know that we’re being followed by a security company that we are familiar with, as they do the guarding at our complex.
"They followed both of us to our homes and we felt safe.
So did our family members, who knew we were going to make it home safe,” Makan enthused, adding that she would “definitely” use the service again.
Theba added that he was aware the police were trying to curb the crime of airport followings by doing stop and searches of cars leaving the airport.
ON ALERT: A panic button was activated while The Star was patrolling with Vision Tactical in Houghton. It took the response unit roughly three minutes to react, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips
But he said some of his clients were apprehensive about the police because of reports that officers - or people disguised as law enforcement personnel - were also part of criminal activity around the airport.
This has to do with the brazen airport heist in March, where more than R20 million was stolen by robbers who, it is believed, included police officers and airport security personnel.
“There are times when people get nervous about being questioned by police.
"People are nervous about sharing information with police at the airport because they are living in fear due to the reports about officers being involved in some of these crimes,” Theba said.
“So, if they know that they are dealing with a security company that they know and trust, they feel a lot more comfortable to talk to the police. That’s what we are trying to do - making people feel a lot safer.”
The company, Theba said, employed only highly skilled personnel, such as Boloka “Bravo 7” Diale.
He is a commander within Vision Tactical, and told The Star he was trained in special weapons and tactics, or Swat, and previously worked for the US Embassy and a cash-in-transit company.
Asked what the scariest part of the job was, Diale asserted: “For me, there is no scary part, because I am used to it. Maybe if I was starting out it would be scary, but right now it’s like having bread with tea.”