A total of 3,500 people and 560 vehicles working on the airside of OR Tambo International Airport have now been stopped and searched since the peak season began, the airport said in a statement on Friday (3 January).
In addition to over 30 arrests in December, the airport said that an employee of a ground handling company leaving the access-controlled area was arrested on 26 December.
Spokesperson Samukelo Khambule said that the employee placed his jacket into a scanner and the screener determined that there was another garment wrapped in the jacket.
Security staff then found a new soccer shirt of Dutch football team Feyenoord had been wrapped in the jacket. The employee could not account for the shirt and was taken to the SAPS station at the airport and arrested.
She added that the aim of the airport’s stop-and-search operations goes beyond detecting and intercepting criminal activity.
The random nature of the operations increases the risk of detection, creates further uncertainty in the minds of criminals and helps to prevent crime.
“We appreciate that the greater numbers of travellers at this time of year can also attract criminals. Additional physical monitoring of the terminals is therefore essential.
“We have also secured additional qualified staff to assist with real-time monitoring in the CCTV control room,”she said.
The airport precinct is currently monitored by close to 3,000 CCTV cameras with more than 200 of those covering baggage handling areas.
One area of focus in and around terminal buildings has been illegal porters and touters who approach arriving passengers. Khambule said these operators are expelled from the buildings and in some cases are arrested.
“Securing convictions for arrests of this nature has been a challenge in the past. We are therefore pleased that a touter has been convicted,” she said.
“On the baggage side, we have noticed instances on some international routes where heavy, over-filled and tightly packed bags have split when rolling down baggage chutes. This causes delays in loading of baggage wagons which in turn could affect departure times. We appeal to passengers to use an extra bag rather than try cram everything into one case.”