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Speaker notes: Minister of Police Mr Fikile Mbalula: Visit to OR Tambo International Airport
2017/07/28

Greetings to the South African Police Service (SAPS) Management, the Airports Company South Africa and OR Tambo Airport representatives, to our stakeholders of all Government departments and the media. I have visited OR Tambo International Airport today for a follow-up to my visit here last week to attend to challenges which have been contributing the criminality inside and around the airport. I have outlined a plan and giving certain directions to the multi-disciplinary tactical team.

I can report that the team has been capacitated and a comprehensive plan has been developed and the implementation is on course. There are some areas that have teething problems but are being given the necessary attention. With respect to the pillar of corruption and collusion, we have reported that several people from various departments have been removed and replaced and during this report we had committed to conduct lifestyle audits and vetting of every employee at this facility.

I can report that this process is underway by the State Security Agency. In terms command and control we have deployed senior managers at this facility and I am satisfied the aspect of command control is proving to be effective. This is not only in respect of the integrated multi-disciplinary tactical team comprising of all the relevant government departments. I am also satisfied that the necessary deployments are being implemented according to my directions and this is bearing fruit as we have seen with the recent successes which I will highlight shortly. In the past we were also confronted with the issue of inadequate resources of government agencies. This matter has been given attention and I can report that senior managers from all departments have been deployed at this facility on a full time basis. We will not have a situation where managers will sit in an office in Pretoria and manage this facility here. With the deployment of the senior managers we are also now seeing a behavioural change in terms attitude, discipline and commitment by the workforce. I want to reiterate that these measure that are now in place is not an interim measure but a long term sustainable plan. This will serve as a blueprint for other ports of entry which includes air, land and sea ports.

We have also capacitated the intelligence environment and I am aware that there is close cooperation between the intelligence community and operational members as well as our intelligence and their counterparts from abroad. In conclusion, I am happy to report that there has been significant successes Ina short space of time. The security forces were able to foil a major robbery at the cargo section which saw the arrest of one suspect and the killing of another. In another incident, as a result of our proactive measures a car with four armed men was identified close to the airport. The suspects were arrested and three firearms were recovered. In this past week a Chinese woman was arrested after she was found trying to smuggle a large quantity of rhino horn from Zambia to Hong Kong and two drug mules were arrested after they were found trying to smuggle drugs into the country. We are also happy that no reports of "airport-following" cases have been made since the implementation of this revised strategy. As late as this morning, our security forces arrested a 29-year-old South African woman and recovered quantity of cocaine which she is allegedly tried to smuggle in a pair of shoes. The woman arrived on a flight from São Paulo. These are some of the successes which are over and above several other arrests of travellers on a daily basis for traveling with false documentation, false passports, etc.

I thank you.

Enquiries: Mr Vuyo Mhlanga, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Police on (076) 6365193