O. R. Tambo International Airport Robbery

Pretoria, Thursday, 9 March 2017: The South African Police Service views the armed robbery which occurred on Tuesday night, 7 March 2017 and the attendant security breaches in a serious light.

We can assure our communities and visitors to our country that we are doing everything possible to ensure that the robbery and all circumstances surrounding the incident form the subject of an intensive, multi-disciplinary investigation. Although this incident is regrettable and unfortunate, the South African Police Service and all role players are compelled to continuously review the security measures aimed at curbing the recurrence of incidents of this nature. We have already embarked on a process, as part of the investigation, to identify security shortcomings and to implement appropriate measures.

Although initial speculation pointed to a South African Police Service vehicle having been used to commit the crime, a vehicle which was found abandoned in Mamelodi proved to be one with fake police markings. When the perpetrators are arrested, we would not be surprised to learn that some of them were bogus police officers. However, we will investigate and arrest objectively and should we find evidence of any type of police or other collusion we will take decisive action. If bona fide police uniforms or equipment were used by the suspects, the source of those uniforms/equipment will also form part of the investigations.

The process of the investigation is underway which includes interviewing all role players and personnel charged with duties in and around the airport.

Today, a few media articles claim that journalists breached security in the vicinity in which the robbery occurred. Security in terms of access to the airside of ORTIA has been enhanced which would have made it impossible for journalists to gain access to that area. However, journalists were seen at the cargo side and at the international terminals yesterday, which are not considered to be restricted areas of the airport.

South African Police Service members deployed at ORTIA conduct their constitutionally mandated duties which include, but are not restricted to:

Patrolling the airside and escorting valuable cargo between the vault and aircraft and vice versa;

On the landside, the SAPS members perform general crime prevention duties;

Intelligence-driven operations are conducted in the cargo area;

Visible policing and crime prevention duties are conducted in the terminals; and

Access control is normally conducted at the gates leading to restricted areas.