OR Tambo heist: 'There were clear security breaches'

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane says airport security will be intensified after security was held up and robbed of foreign currency.

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane says while he can't divulge the exact nature of investigations into this week's multi-million rand heist at OR Tambo International Airport, it's clear that those who were tasked with securing the targeted section failed to do so.

Several robbers dressed in police uniforms and driving bogus cop cars held up security on Tuesday night before stealing more than two dozen bags filled with foreign currency.

No arrests have been made but the vehicles were recovered in Mamelodi.

Phahlane says there were clear security breaches.

“One of those [breaches] may be whether the police were where they were supposed to be and whether all role-players did their part to ensure it was prevented.”

During a briefing on Thursday in Pretoria, Phahlane said there was no reason to doubt the competency of the authorities who were responsible for securing the airport.

“There is no reason why we should doubt the competency and capabilities of the authorities charged with the responsibility of securing the airports. This was a security breach and it will be dealt with. The perpetrators will certainly be brought to book.”

The lieutenant general said security would be intensified at the airport.

“We cannot take things for granted after what happened. It’s our resolve to review the situation and deal with gaps which manifest.”

He added South African Police Service officials would be questioned in connection with the brazen heist.

“People will be interviewed and that will include members of the police service, people working for Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) – everyone that is of interest.”

The top cop dismissed claims that a war between SAPS and the Hawks at airport had undermined the security at the facility.

“There is no war between the SAPS and the Hawks. They are a family and work together. I can’t respond to what has been said outside of this space.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)