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OR Tambo management to intensify measure to airport follow home robberies

File picture: Mujahid Safodien/AP

File picture: Mujahid Safodien/AP

Published Jun 28, 2017

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Johannesburg - “We will not hesitate to take decisive action when we identify any person helping criminals, irrespective of whether these spotters are employed by Airports Company South Africa or one of the many service providers operating at the airport.”

These were the words of Leigh Gunkel-Keuler spokesperson of OR Tambo International Airport following recent ‘airport spotters’ reports and ‘follow-home’ robberies that have caused an uproar in the country.

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The Star has for years been reporting on this phenomenon of people landing at the airport only to be ambushed while on their way home or to their hotels.  In the latest incident, a couple from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were both shot and seriously injured outside a hotel in Morningside two weeks ago. They were allegedly followed from the airport when they were shot and robbed.

Gunkel-Keuler said they would take action on those found to be assisting criminals follow people home and rob them regardless of whether those people are employees of airline companies, ground handling companies, cargo operators, security companies, retail concessionaires, hotels, public transport operators, government agencies and others among the 35 000 people employed airport-wide.

Gunkel-Keuler  said they would continue working closely with the police on a variety of measures, including surveillance and intelligence work to identify the spotters and the criminals.

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She also stated that about 10% to 15% of people working at an airport anywhere in the world were directly employed by the airport company and that it was important to note that certain key stakeholders were not accountable to airport management in the execution of their safety and security mandate, she said.

“We will continue to work with all law enforcement agencies and the wider airport community to implement activities that will help identify the spotters alleged to be employed at the airport by various companies,”Gunkel-Keuler said.

The Star

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