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Oppenheimer assures Parly committee security now tighter at Fireblade terminal

There’s still no agreement between the Department of Home Affairs and the Oppenheimer's aviation company, Fireblade, regarding the provision of immigration services at its private terminal at OR International Airport.

FILE: A screengrab of Nicky Oppenheimer and Fireblade director and former Northern Cape Premier Manne Dipico addressing the Home Affairs Committee in Parliament on 30 October 2018. Picture: YouTube.

CAPE TOWN - There’s still no agreement between the Department of Home Affairs and the Oppenheimer's aviation company, Fireblade, regarding the provision of immigration services at its private terminal at OR International Airport.

The matter caused a furore last year when former minister Malusi Gigaba was found to have perjured himself in a court case challenging permissions granted to the company.

On Tuesday, Fireblade’s Nicky Oppenheimer moved to assure Parliament’s Home Affairs committee that despite the absence of a formal agreement regulating operations at the terminal, security is now far tighter than in 2017, when a passenger attempted to load a suspicious package onto a plane chartered by the controversial Gupta family.

Following meetings over the past two months, it’s been decided that the Department of Transport will take the lead in coming up with an agreement to regulate operations at the Oppenheimer’s Fireblade Terminal.

This is because it operates under the same aerodrome license granted to the Airports Company South Africa.

But it’s still to be determined whether Denel was legally permitted to grant the Oppenheimers a 10-year lease to operate the terminal from one of its facilities.

Oppenheimer said a repeat of an incident involving the Gupta family in 2017, would not happen today.

“The people manning x-rays for loading international flights, would not have been Fireblade personnel but from Home Affairs, and that suitcase would have been seized on site.”

The Home Affairs Department said an agreement will be entered into as soon as it finalises a model for private aviation terminals.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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