ALERT: Travellers warned about making cash transactions at OR Tambo

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It’s the silly season and as we all prepare to take a little down time, this is when crimes usually spike across the board.

Recent developments at OR Tambo International Airport indicate that travellers, as well as family and friends doing pick-ups at the airport should be more than alert and vigilant.

On Sunday morning former North West DG Professor Job Mokgoro told News24 that he had been robbed after returning from a business trip to Australia.

According to Mokgoro the incident appeared well-orchestrated as he had a hunch that he was being followed after exchanging his forex at OR Tambo International. The robbers allegedly followed him home and took his changed cash, luggage and cellphone.

‘Don’t change cash at the airport’
According to Mokgoro, the four sets of police officers who took his statement all “warned not to make transactions at the airport”.

“There should be warning signs to brief people on this if they [police] have noted these trends. We should see some type of effort to caution the public. I have been a victim today and I owe it to society to make sure it shouldn’t happen to the next person,” he says.

Traveller24 has contact Acsa and is awaiting a response around the security implications and allegations. OR Tambo as a national key point has an Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department satellite station based at the airport.

The DA has also highlighted concerns about the perceived lack of security, stating safety at the Gauteng airport “has been severely comprised in the past few weeks”.

While Acsa has been working to improve security measures on the air-side of its international airport operations with newly piloted scanning systems, it appears key stakeholders have complained that security around the airport is lacking.

According to reports DA Gauteng MPL Michele Clarke, she has recently received complaints from travellers who arrived late at the airport and “felt unsafe walking to the parking garage and to catch a taxi-cab”.

“I have been followed to my car on three occasions and in one instance I was accosted by a group of young men asking for money,” says Clarke.

DA MP James Vos says they are concerned that crime could place South Africa’s travel and trade image in jeopardy, “which would negatively impact the industry and lead to more jobs being lost on top of a decrease in foreign investment” and is calling for an impact assessment to be done on the crime within the tourism industry.

“The travel and tourism industry is constantly subjected to change both internal and external. The world has experienced an increase in terrorism and terrorist events, such as September 11th 2001, which have caused significant changes in air travel and passengers perception of safety. As a result, airport screening and travel safety regulations have undergone scrupulous changes.

“Our Airports are the gateways to South Africa’s tourism markets. Government must ensure co-ordinated and integrated security systems to ensure that airports as national key points and those traveling through it remains safe. We therefore need better safety measures and an impact assessment to be done on how crime affects the tourism industry,” says Vos.

Vos highlighted the recent US travel advisory issued for South Africa in which it warned its citizens through an embassy statement that South Africa is not safe.

“Our Airports are the gateways to South Africa’s tourism markets. Government must ensure co-ordinated and integrated security systems to ensure that airports as national key points and those traveling through it remains safe. We therefore need better safety measures and an impact assessment to be done on how crime affects the tourism industry,” says Vos.

Vos highlighted the recent US travel advisory issued for South Africa in which it warned its citizens through an embassy statement that South Africa is not safe.

“Earlier this year, our country was placed sixth on the list of the World’s Most Fatal Places for Brits to travel to. Crime has a serious effect on South African citizens, but also on visitors. This places our country at risk in terms of travel and trade – something which we cannot afford, considering the current economic climate and more importantly because one job is created for every twelve tourist arrivals.”

“Business conferencing is one of South Africa’s key tourism sectors. In the past five years, the Western Cape alone secured over 120 bids and conferences, with an economic impact of R25.4 billion.”

“Government must do everything possible to make our country safer for our citizens as well as those visiting our shores.”

Source: m.traveller24.news24.com

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