OR Tambo International Airport says that 35 of 56 information desk staff employed by the airport have been suspended pending disciplinary procedures.
The 35 employees have been suspended following an investigation over several weeks into allegations of illegal commissions paid by certain hospitality providers to secure referrals. The investigation is continuing and further suspensions and disciplinary procedures are possible.
Airport management has notified the South African Police Service of the matter, based on the outcome of its internal investigation.
“It is extremely disappointing when issues of this nature are brought to the airport’s attention. However, when such activities take place we are compelled to act, as we do take a hard line where we encounter our own employees delivering poor service or engaging in corrupt activity,” said Bongiwe Pityi, general manager of OR Tambo International Airport.
“More than 35 000 people work for various companies at the airport in some capacity. Of these, only 1 200 are directly employed by Airports Company South Africa. Given the seriousness of the matter, this remains an ongoing priority at the airport.
“To this end, we are continually on the alert for staff who may be engaged in any illegal activities. I would like to urge airport users not to offer or pay bribes and to report suspicious activity. People should also be aware that the law provides for prosecution not only of those soliciting bribes, but also of those who offer them or pay them.
Pityi said misconduct by employees of companies directly contracted to the airport could lead to those companies paying penalties or losing their contracts. In addition, employees of airport contractors who engaged in misconduct or illegal activity also face disciplinary procedures or prosecution.
Pityi urged airport users who encounter misconduct or illegal activity to report it to the airport and the SAPS.