SAA gives details of OR Tambo Airport heist

SAA confirms a container meant to go on board one of its planes was robbed during a brazen heist at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night.

The international arrivals terminal at Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – South African Airways (SAA) has moved to clarify that Tuesday night’s brazen robbery at OR Tambo International Airport involved a consignment carrying high-level goods due to be transported on one of its planes, but the aircraft itself was not affected.

SAA says the incident happened on what is known as the air side of the airport.

Spokesperson Tlali Tlali says, “It happened at a time before the consignment, which contained high-value items, was due to be loaded into the aircraft. At the time when it happened, the aircraft was not anywhere near.”

It’s understood a gang intercepted the container before security officials could stop them.

It’s alleged more than R20 million was stolen but neither the Hawks nor police have confirmed this.

An investigation involving the Airport Company of South African (Acsa) and other law enforcement agencies is now underway.

LISTEN: SAA clarifies details of airport heist

While questions have been raised about how the robbers managed to pass through airport security, acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane has assured travellers not to fear.

His spokesperson Athlende Mathe says, “The acting National Police Commissioner will like to assure South Africans that our police officers will do everything humanly possible to ensure that there’s a thorough investigation into the matter, and ensure the safety of the members of the public.”

While a high-level team is still collecting information, Acsa says it’s received no reports of a shootout or any injuries during the robbery.

Security has been stepped up with more guards and officers visible at the airport’s terminals.

LISTEN: Eyewitnesses suspect inside job