Five men appear for OR Tambo heist

Five men appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with an armed robbery at OR Tambo International Airport. Photo: eNCA / Lindokuhle Xulu

JOHANNESBURG – Five men appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with an armed robbery at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, SA Police said.

The men were arrested over the weekend by members of the multi-disciplinary team investigating the armed robbery which occurred at the aiport on March 7, spokeswoman Brigadier Sally de Beer said.

“The five men appeared briefly in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court today [Monday], facing a charge of armed robbery. The case has been remanded to the 28th and 29th March 2017 for a bail application,” she said.

“It is regrettable and at the same time pleasing to note that, among the five people arrested over the weekend, a member of the South African Police Service was among them. This affords us the opportunity to take appropriate action against our own. We wish to reiterate our stance as the South African Police Service, that there is no place for corrupt or criminal elements in our organisation and this arrest sends a strong message that we will continue to investigate without fear or favour.”

De Beer said that two men, who were arrested within a week of the armed robbery, are due to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court for a second time later this week. They were each granted R50,000 bail.

The police team tasked with investigating the armed robbery, including members of the Hawks are commended on their commitment to ensuring that the perpetrators are arrested and brought before the courts.

READ: OR Tambo heist: Police make major breakthrough

De Beer said that items of evidence seized by the police during the investigation would be presented in court during the trial.

Acting National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane congratulated the team on their hard work and said that a combination of intelligence gathering adn old fashioned detective work.

“Their efforts have culminated in the recent arrests and court appearance of those allegedly involved in the ORTIA robbery which we view as a serious security breach at a national key point,” Phahlane said.

He said that the SAPS was disappointed that information and photographs apparently peddled to the media over the weekend were published on Monday. He said that their investigators should be allowed to continue with their investigations and that credible information be sourced from court proceedings.

READ: Cloned police vehicles used in OR Tambo heist: Phahlane

“As the South African Police Service, we wish to place it on record that we understand and respect journalists’ mandate as a watchdog for society. However, soliciting information from members who are involved in the investigation is noted with serious concern,” Phahlane said.

“We are looking into the matter, to establish which of our members are leaking information to various media houses. This is not assisting us in anyway with regards to the ongoing investigation. The publishing of articles should not be to the detriment of our investigation and will not be condoned.”

African News Agency

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