Mbalula has sleepless nights over lax security at OR Tambo International Airport
Babalo Ndenze | 2017-06-07 15:01:29.0
Lax security at OR Tambo airport must be treated as a matter of urgency said Police minister Fikile Mbalula.
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER/THE TIMES
Police minister Fikile Mbalula told MPs that they “would collapse” if they were to discover the full extent of crime at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Appearing before the police portfolio committee on Wednesday‚ Mbalula painted a grim picture of the crime situation at the country’s busiest airport which is also a national key point.
He said it gave him sleepless nights.
Mbalula said he’s now asked the new acting national police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba to treat lax security at the OR Tambo airport as a matter of urgency.
“Where police are erring we need to act on that. We are not only concerned about police corruption and docket disappearance‚ the recycling of criminals in the system.
Our approach is more operational. Yesterday before I came here I went to SAA (at OR Tambo)‚ our national key point. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep I can tell you.
And I immediately talked to the general. We need to look at that. If you had to know what is happening there you will collapse. So I think we need to attend to that‚” said Mbalula.
The OR Tambo airport has had several security breaches in the recent past although it has a highly visible police presence because it is a national key point.
The most prominent security breach at OR Tambo this year was a brazen cash heist in March where millions of rand were stolen‚ allegedly with the help of some police officers.
Formally introducing Mothiba to MPs since his acting appointment by President Jacob Zuma last week‚ Mbalula said that poor security at OR Tambo would no longer be allowed to continue.
He said in the “geopolitical environment” that we live in‚ the country would be “embarrassed security-wise if we leave the situation as it is in some of these national key points”.
“I don’t mean my house when I talk national key point. I mean OR Tambo‚” said Mbalula.
MPs praised Mbalula for his “straight talk” and encouraged him to “crack the whip” in the fight against crime.
“We also welcome your approach in the fight against abuse of women. So you must crack the whip‚” said committee chairperson Francois Beukman.
Beukman also called for more stringent vetting of candidates during the search for a new permanent police commissioner as the contract of suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega comes to an end this Saturday.