LUGGAGE theft is an ongoing problem worldwide and O.R. Tambo Airport is no exception.
Millions could be lost and those responsible will go scot free as in my case.
Last week Wednesday en route to Cape Town for both Budget Speech and Samsung Africa Forum respectively, my black bag was tampered with and valuable stuff stolen.
After checking in at the British Airways counter, I requested the bag be wrapped up but was told the machines were not working.
Being conscience as I am, I then asked for my zip bag to be cable tied of which the lady at the counter obliged.
Upon my arrival at the Cape Town International Airport (after collecting it) my zip bag and cables were broken and track-suits missing.
Yes, I did not lay charge immediately at the airport because I was already late for media shuttle that was idling outside. Perhaps that was naive of me.
However, upon arrival at the hotel (Cullinan-unhelpful because they demanded I pay for shuttle service to open case back at the airport) I decided to jog to the nearest Cape Town Central Police Station- of which I was greatly helped to open the case.
“Look, I know I’m not gonna get back my stuff but at least let me pursue this and see how far I will swim,” I furiously charged at a colleague from Sowetan.
By then I was communicating with a lady from CTIA by the name of (Marlene) Arendse who was helpful and very understanding.
“The case number will be sent to your mobile, sir,” noted the officer.
With all the paper work done, I had to jog back to the hotel for the Samsung function, since I missed the Budget Speech.
The following morning I called (Marlene) endlessly to provide her with case number so she could proceed with opening a file but this proved futile.
In a nutshell, ‘till this day (Marlene) has not made a follow up to establish case number or and, if anything has come up in obtaining my stolen goods? Nada…
Its seven days and no one has bothered to get in touch.
Very concerning in 2014, it was reported that 22million items of luggage were ‘mishandled’ in airports around the globe; thieves and even border officials are said to be secretly searching bags; and the term ‘mishandled’ covers bags that are delayed, lost or stolen.
In a bid to deal with baggage theft at the OR Tambo International Airport, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) added other security features to the existing R28m biometric card and zoning system.
That was in 2007 before the 2010 World Cup. Fast forward to now.
“The new system will automatically send out an alert when unauthorised persons violate a zone.
“This will be followed by an immediate investigation into the zone violation, followed by strict disciplinary action, including in some cases, access permits being withdrawn and the person in question banned from working at the airport,” said general manager at OR Tambo International Airport by then.
Acsa has also strongly committed itself to pro-actively managing baggage pilferage at OR Tambo by introducing new security initiatives.
These include the identification of baggage pilferage hotspots, the appointment of a Baggage Make-Up Manager, further interaction and co-operation with airlines and baggage-handling companies.
It said that it will ensure that technology, processes and contract security in this area are properly coordinated and function as efficiently and effectively as possible.
“Management of baggage pilferage needs to be coordinated between all the different stakeholders (airlines, baggage handling companies, SAPS and Acsa) involved. We take this seriously and are working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that we continue to manage baggage pilferage downwards,”it was quoted.
Whether we like it or not baggage pilferage will never stop up until our security at airports refrain from payola-finish & klaar!