Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
9 Mar 2017
2:46 pm

OR Tambo heist could have been an inside job, says Phahlane

Virginia Keppler

Phahlane slammed the media for reporting false information, especially on the alleged police vehicles used to commit the crime.

OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Valentina Nicol

Tuesday’s heist at OR Tambo International Airport was “well planned” and cannot be ruled out as an inside job.

This is according to police chief Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane who on Thursday said all the people involved in the security and all role players and personnel charged with duties in and around the airport will be questioned. He said they found an abandoned vehicle in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, which had fake police markings.

“When the perpetrators are arrested, we would not be surprised to learn that some of them were bogus police officers.

“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 and equipment will also form part of the investigations.

“How the car was marked will form part of our investigations,” he said.

He slammed the media for reporting false information, especially on the alleged police vehicles that were used.

“It is important for people not to jump to conclusions with limited information and to allow the police an opportunity to conduct investigations,” he said.

Phahlane said the robbers were armed and “even if the security guys were armed, they would have been overpowered”.

He said security is already being increased and they will continuously review the situation and deal with the shortcomings.

About a month ago, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) told parliament’s portfolio committee on police that drugs worth millions of rands seized at the airport often do not even make it to court as evidence.

The theft, which was allegedly committed by police officers and members of the Hawks, apparently came to light when Ipid investigators were looking into a murder/suicide in which a police officer killed a Hawks member.

This matter is still a subject of investigation by the police.

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