The arrest of a South African corps member linked to the OR Tambo robbery has brought to light the rising involvement of SA corps in most crime related issues which acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane said must be quickly addressed.
Police says it has arrested four people‚ including a policeman‚ in connection with last week’s daring robbery at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
According to acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, the search team were able to arrest those suspected to have carried out the crime and these include a young corps who has been arraigned for questioning at the station.
The acting police commissioner further explained that the heist at OR Tambo International Airport was a result of security breaches, which also points towards an inside job. He promised that the investigative team will through hard work and dedication, get to the root of the matter in a matter of days.
“We have resolved as law enforcement agencies to work in ensuring the perpetrators of this crime are brought to book. Within a week of investigations and interviewing people of interest we can confirm that four people have been taken in for questioning.”
Phahlane said two of the four men appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on charges of armed robbery, while the other two are currently being questioned.
“It is highly regrettable one of our own members is among the two. This confirms the possibility of a collusion and/or an inside job,” he said, adding that they could not rule out whether more police officers would be arrested.
The shocking news of the robbery hit South Africans last week as a group of armed robbers traveling in a SAPS-branded vehicle snatched a total of 27 parcels containing foreign currency which was destined for London on an SAA flight.
Though Phahlane refused to disclose the sum of the foreign currency taken, report has it that the sum of R24 million was carted away at the time the Airports Company SA (Acsa) security was increased with guards replaced.
“The management of Acsa are deeply concerned by this robbery and the manner in which it took place. We are working closely with law enforcement agencies to support the investigation and to establish what further measures will be taken,” said the Airports Company SA (Acsa)
Acsa said a bakkie with “what appeared to be police markings” pulled up at a restricted access gate at about 7.23pm on March 7. The bakkie was followed by a white Ford Focus, and both cars had their sirens and blue lights activated.
“The vehicles were occupied by several armed men, some of whom were in SAPS uniforms. When asked to validate their credentials, the men produced firearms, rounded up security staff in the security checkpoint and ordered them to lie on the floor,” Acsa said.
Meanwhile, Phahlane has promised to engage all police officers in a thorough scrutiny as the net closes in on the armed robbers from the national key point.
“As the South African Police Service we would like to reiterate our stance that if we find that any of our members had a role to play, we will take decisive action. Our investigations continue and further court appearances and arrests are likely to be made,” he said.
“The SA Police Service would like to reassure all South Africans that we are committed to security our ports of entry and preventing and combating serious crimes of this nature.”
Asked about the detained police officer’s details including his/her station, Phahlane declined to give further details.
“Allow me at this stage to not disclose the details of this person until a point where the questioning is concluded. I can’t tell you about the station and so on,” said Phahlane