Employee bust at OR Tambo Airport with new Dutch football club shirt

03 January 2020 - 16:13 By Nonkululeko Njilo
SAPS officers conducting a search between two baggage conveyor belts at OR Tambo International Airport during the festive season.
SAPS officers conducting a search between two baggage conveyor belts at OR Tambo International Airport during the festive season.
Image: OR Tambo International Airport

A ground handling company employee caught with a Dutch football club shirt hidden in his jacket was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport last week.

The man was stopped when he tried to leave the access-controlled area the day after Christmas.

“He placed his jacket into a scanner and the screener determined that there was another garment wrapped in the jacket. Security staff then found a new soccer shirt of Dutch football team Feyenoord had been wrapped in the jacket,” the airport said in a security update on Friday.

“The employee could not account for the shirt and was taken to the SAPS station at the airport and arrested.”

The bust was part of the airport's peak holiday season security checks that have seen 3,500 people and 560 vehicles working on the airside of the national key point being subjected to stop-and-search operations.

Airport spokesperson Samukelo Khambule said the aim of the blitz went beyond intercepting criminal activity but created uncertainty in the minds of criminals, which in turn helped in crime prevention.

SAPS and security officers conducting a stop-and-search operation in one of the baggage handling areas.
SAPS and security officers conducting a stop-and-search operation in one of the baggage handling areas.
Image: OR Tambo International Airport

She said additional staff had been roped in to assist with monitoring CCTV cameras.

“We appreciate that the greater numbers of travellers at this time of year can also attract criminals. Additional physical monitoring of the terminals is therefore essential. We have also secured additional qualified staff to assist with real-time monitoring in the CCTV control room,” she said.

The airport said its precinct was monitored by nearly 3,000 CCTV cameras with more than 200 of them watching baggage-handling areas.

The man's arrest follows that of Kunde Kwini who was convicted of touting last month.  

Khambule hailed both the arrests.  

“Securing convictions for arrests of this nature has been a challenge in the past. We are therefore pleased that a touter has been convicted,” she said.

“On the baggage side, we have noticed instances on some international routes where heavy, over-filled and tightly packed bags have split when rolling down baggage chutes.

“This causes delays in loading of baggage wagons which in turn could affect departure times. We appeal to passengers to use an extra bag rather than cramming everything into one case,” said Khambule.


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