Give us space to investigate airport heist – Phahlane

Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane  File picture: Simphiwe Nkwali
Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane
File picture: Simphiwe Nkwali

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has appealed to the media to give authorities space to investigate the daring heist at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday evening.

Phahlane dismissed suggestions that security at the airport was vulnerable and hit out media reports that detailed how the robbery went down.

TimesLIVE revealed a virtually blow-by-blow account of the robbery earlier this week‚ mentioning that a vehicle bearing the police logo had been used in the heist.

But Phahlane said reports of a police vehicle being used was “fake news”.

He was speaking during a media briefing on the robbery in Pretoria on Thursday.

He did not confirm the amount taken or to whom it belongs‚ but he did back up reports that “bogus police cars” were recovered in Mamelodi on Wednesday.

Sources have told TimesLIVE that nearly R200-million in foreign currency was grabbed during the heist.

“People must not jump to conclusions with limited information‚” he said.

“We are going to increase and intensify our efforts there. In no way can we take anything for granted after what happened on Tuesday. We will deal with those gaps that are manifesting themselves in the security system but we certainly cannot provide more details on other measures.”

Responding to allegations about a supposed turf war between the Hawks and SAPS members at the airport‚ Phahlane said he could not respond to those claims made by Robert McBride‚ head of police watchdog IPID.

“There is no war between SAPS and Hawks – they are a family and they work together everywhere. I can’t respond to what was said outside this space‚” he said.

Meanwhile‚ Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA)  CEO Bongani Maseko said he could not provide statistics of the number of criminal incidents at the airport over the past 12 months.

“Those statistics would fall under the mandate of the SAPS‚” Maseko said.

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