Airport workers fired for luggage theft

2012-02-21 09:25

Johannesburg - Five Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) employees have been fired for luggage theft at OR Tambo International Airport in the past week, it was reported on Tuesday.

Two of them were arrested, reported Beeld newspaper.

Assistant general manager of airport operations Tebogo Mekgoe said the employees were caught red-handed after a recent security upgrade at the airport.

"Acsa is pulling out all the stops to combat luggage theft. Incidents of luggage theft and tampering have dropped by one third over the past two years," Mekgoe told the newspaper.

He said Acsa spent about R7.2m a year on luggage security measures.

Incidents of tampering had declined from 18 out of 1 000 passengers who departed in January 2010, to 10.4 out of 1 000, a year later.

  • John - 2012-02-21 09:36

    they should have faced criminal charges.

      TSR01 - 2012-02-21 10:34

      5 fired, 2 arrested? Hm, I agree, all of them should be facing the full extent of the law. South Africa takes a heavy blow due to crime committed against tourists, as it directly impacts our economy, viability and popularity as a tourist destination, and quite frankly, if I had to travel abroad, I would be less inclined to visit a country with a high probability of having my belongings stolen at the AIRPORT. (5 employees in 1 week? That's how bad it is? Why was it left until now?)

  • KyleAssassin - 2012-02-21 09:40

    Even one theft is to much.

      rheinhardt.peens - 2012-02-21 12:47

      Does this mean my golfclubs are safe??

  • Olivia - 2012-02-21 09:41

    Serves them right! High Time!! I've been a victim more than once to these "long fingers" The only cage suitable for them is a shark cage, where those 'long fingers' can get ripped off!

      Monique - 2012-02-21 13:12

      LOL..I agree!

  • Johan - 2012-02-21 09:56

    The only way to protect your luggage is to have it bubble wrapped!

      Patrick - 2012-02-21 10:05

      @bongani. ignore this racist.they presume the guy is black. no where they the perpetrators are black

      Blaine Dillon - 2012-02-21 10:06

      I believe you mean, "glad wrapped"

      Leon - 2012-02-21 11:26

      Only way to protect is steel bars around the luggage with special locks. Remember the thieves are the very people who wrap your luggage. What stops them from opening it and wrapping them again.

      Johan - 2012-02-21 11:52

      Patrick nowhere did I intimate that the liggage thieves were of a specifick race so please do not accuse me of racism

      Johan - 2012-02-21 12:10

      On my last 5 overseas trips my luggage was opened three times and items removed. The last two trips with the luggage wrapped my luggage was not opened.So I have to assume the wrapping worked.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-02-21 12:32

      Wrapping works.... I didn't wrap my luggage from Heathrow (UK) to Cairo (Egypt) and my luggage was tampered with (Egypt Air).. Luckily nothing was taken as I had nothing of value (just clothes).. I wrapped my bag at Cairo for my flight back to SA and no incident after that..

      RobertKeeling - 2012-02-21 13:34

      @patrick - unless you work there, you have no knowledge of whether the guys are black. However, I can assure you that they are and this has nothing to do with racism. It's purely a fact. So get off your high racist horse and smell the roses.

      John - 2012-02-21 13:39

      Agreed. I fly several times a year overseas, and every month locally. I have had things stolen from my bags very often - every time it has been at ORT in JNB. Since I have started wrapping my bags in plastic, I have not had one incident. I now wrap every check-in bag, regardless if it is a local or international flight

  • johnwilliam.roberts - 2012-02-21 10:02

    do what they do in muslim countries CHOP OFF THE THIEFING BASTARDS HANDS !!! every 4 passengers out of 1000 get robbed and acsa is proud of this result! idiots in charge .

  • dlawre30 - 2012-02-21 10:03

    Ok so they are fired. Why no charges and jail time?

      TSR01 - 2012-02-21 10:40

      5 fired, 2 facing court - a terrible figure! They should all be facing justice, not getting off with a slap on the wrist. Agreed with Harley1's sentiment, they don't need a slap on the wrist, they need to have their hands cut off at the wrist!

  • makesuthink - 2012-02-21 10:08

    I have a solution to the theft and tampering. make sure that your bag is completely full (that is bulging) after putting a rubber snake at the bottom and one at the top No more tampering They cannot lay charges because they do not have your permission to open the bag

      Linda - 2012-02-21 10:26

      licencing and permit issues to be considered before engaging on this task!

      makesuthink - 2012-02-21 10:36

      Linda A rubber snake is a toy so no permit is needed With the case or bag packed to capacity when it is opened clothes and snake will jump out

  • vokweet - 2012-02-21 10:13

    Move in the right direction BUT let's do the maths. ACSA web site claims more than 17million passengers a year pass through ORT. At 10.4 incidents of tampering per 1000 that means 10.4 * 17,000 = 176,800 incidents per year. Or 484 per day. Or 20 per hour. Or 1 every 3 minutes. The issue remains an massive problem.

      justin.pretorius - 2012-02-21 11:05

      Quite staggering looking at the stats

      solverman - 2012-02-21 11:48

      and they only caught 5... and they spent 7 million to do this..... F*ck me... I am sure I could do better than that with a hand held camera

      vokweet - 2012-02-21 13:09

      Interestingly the same report on IOL quotes a drop from 80 to 35 incidents per 1000 bags, where the above references 18 out of 1000 passengers. That would imply 1 in 2 people have no checked luggage, which may be the case if you factor domestic business travelers in. However if we assume that on average all passengers have 1 bag then using the above logic we get to 35 * 17,000 = 595,000 incidents a year. Or 1,630 per day. Or 68 an hour. Or more than 1 theft a minute. Logistically this must require a transport network to move the stuff out? Conclusion; given the variance in the quoted stats, the rate of theft varies between totally unacceptable to obscenely embarrassing.

  • Nitro - 2012-02-21 10:21

    ACSA is behind all of this they the big bosses share in the stolen goods!!!

  • E=MC2 - 2012-02-21 10:22

    Its about freaking time! pisses me off at the thought of having kfc finger prints on my f'n luggage!

  • J-Man - 2012-02-21 10:22

    About effing time.

  • Ruby Brits Jamison - 2012-02-21 10:22

    Good,,we came over in december and lost our brand new luggage straps..small issue but still annoying.

  • Linda - 2012-02-21 10:23

    Call the police, firing them won't help! I suggest you also blacklist them from entering all air ports, bad rubbish!!

  • Bibi - 2012-02-21 10:26

    If you are booked on a delayed flight, the chances are bigger I believe. my luggage has been broken into 3 times - always a delayed flight as they have more time. Once they have cut through the plastic wrap. the security supervisors should also be fired.

  • Mpho Gwala - 2012-02-21 10:28

    Still won't stop me from spending that 50 bucks and wrapping my luggage up. These guys earn next to nothing, and are expected to take care of your expensive clothes. I'm not taking my chances, been a victim once and won't let it happen again

      makesuthink - 2012-02-21 10:37

      They are no expected to take care of your clothes They are expected to load your luggage That's all

      Trevor - 2012-02-21 11:03

      @Mpho Gwala-What an IDIOTIC comment to make, so by your reasoning, because (you ASSUME) they earn minimum wage they then have the right to steal from paying customers from all over the world?It's thinking like this that shows the world that Africans still live in mudhuts and have Lions in their backyard as pets....ACSA need to pull their finger because they are an embarressment to us all...imagine, the first experience you have landing in SA on holiday or business is, your luggage has been stolen/opened....

      Mpho Gwala - 2012-02-21 12:54

      I'm not saying it justifies them stealing. But I will not act as if I'm surprised that it's happening and will continue to happen. You are the epitome of idiots if you think it won't happen or better yet don't understand why it happens

      Alastair - 2012-02-21 13:05

      Mpho - your logic fails, because the same is not true in countless other countries where luggage handlers are paid even less. My work takes me to many developing countries. The only airport where I've ever had problems is ORT. The same applies outside of airports - you can wander through the poorest market in India, Nepal or Bangladesh without worrying about having your possessions stolen, even though the poverty is far worse than here. I'm not defending poverty - my work is to help overcome it - but I am saying that it is a fiction that poverty is the cause of the lawlessness and violence that have come to characterize South Africa.

      J-Man - 2012-02-21 14:07

      I don't see the problem with Mpho's comment? All he said is he's going to wrap his luggage in order to not take any chances as he's been a victim of theft before? I agree. Too many cool new (expensive) items have been stolen from my luggage at OR Tambo. I'm not taking any chances either. But that's just me. :\

  • mheystek - 2012-02-21 10:31

    Why they didn't upgrade these measures before the world cup is beyond me

  • dnaude1 - 2012-02-21 10:32

    I hope one of them is the culprit that stole stuff out of my luggage on 6 February.

  • Leon - 2012-02-21 10:40

    It took SAA a very long time to upgrade their security,could'nt they have done it when they started stealing

  • Graham - 2012-02-21 10:41

    At last some good news! Every single time I’ve checked bags in, something been stolen or it’s been tampered with. Carry on only. Thanks for forcing me to travel lite.

      Andrew - 2012-02-21 11:43

      Weird or just unlucky. In 20 years of flying (probably about 300 flights) I have had my bags lost 6 times and things stolen from them 3 times and the last time was about 5 years ago. All were at OR Tambo. If you are that unlucky please don't take any flights I'm on. Thanks.

  • Victor - 2012-02-21 10:54

    Only five fired ??????

  • sincitizen1 - 2012-02-21 10:56

    its about time!

  • Tau - 2012-02-21 10:59

    Crime does not have colour. Theft is theft and no section of the popolation is resposible for certain crime. I make sure i always have a small laggege.

  • Adrian - 2012-02-21 11:02

    Until the punishment outweighs the crime, this will continue. I believe that under Sharia law, some of the arab states surgically remove fingers under certain circumstances for stealing. It is that threat, along with the social stigma that surrounds it which keeps crime down. Would be a lot cheaper than throwing these thieves in jail at the tax payers expense.....

      Kai - 2012-02-21 14:22

      I prefer the medieval way of doing it, brand them on either their cheek or their forehead. Then everyone will know what they did.

  • Wendy - 2012-02-21 11:17

    To be honest, I wish News24 would disable the comments function to the public as it always leads to racial arguments that are counter productive to building a united South Africa. A thief is a thief regardless of his or her skin colour. It's because of assumptions like the ones made here that we are not moving forward as a country.

      jowza1 - 2012-02-21 12:51

      thank you wendy

      Primrose - 2012-02-21 13:15

      I second that Wendy, thank u, its just a draw back, everything leads to race, government. Whats new, we know the country we live in, lets try to restore it by being positive and some of these comments when I read them bring me down, and when Im with a person of other colour I think do they think about me that way...

  • Andrew - 2012-02-21 11:21

    Assuming there are 17 million passengers passing through OR Tambo Airport every year (based on ACSA stats) that means that ONLY about 500 bags are raided every day.

  • Leon - 2012-02-21 11:21

    Dropped by a third!!!!!!. Should it not be " dropped by 100%?" Two thirds is still waaaaayyyyy too high.

  • VerquelineBotha - 2012-02-21 11:22

    bliksems they stole my stuff......

  • kriel.koos - 2012-02-21 11:30

    This is good and needs to be stepped up-I've had 2 suitcases broken into/tampered with in past 3 months!! Good work ACSA!!

  • rickvcooper - 2012-02-21 11:54

    The way luggage is broken into at South African airports tells me that theft is a perk.

  • Dianne - 2012-02-21 11:54

    Chop their bloody hands off !

  • Christie - 2012-02-21 12:00

    Why are management still employed?

  • Chris - 2012-02-21 12:02

    Good luck trying to stop theft at Oliver Tambo airport ..... I've lost count of the number of times my equipment cases have been opened and bits and pieces removed - a monstrous airport.

  • Andrew - 2012-02-21 12:05

    All very well firing them. Why are they not charged for theft and jailed. Oh sorry I forgot they are probably ANC cadres appointed by relatives!!!

  • denise.wilshire - 2012-02-21 12:21

    And anyone who has had their luggage tampered with will know that they pay out is a paltry sum that doesn't really cover the cost of your clothing. I got R750.00. They sliced open my suitcase and stole my new holiday clobber. It was replaced with dirty old rags! OR Tambo must be the most disgusting airport I have ever been to. The staff are sloppy (customs and immigration) the check in staff are unfriendly and it is strange how they could offer to sell me a suitcase for R350.00 without any receipts when I needed to shift some weight to a carry on bag. I dread air travel due to this lousy set up. Gum chewing, slouching, rude and ignorant bunch of time wasters.

      Leslie - 2012-02-21 12:49

      You get paid USD20 per kg when you claim and get told to claim the balance from your own insurance. How do you replace one shoe? (Flight from Hong Kong) Where do you get a pair of Nike running shoes and leather jacket for $40? (Flight to Cape Town) A bottle of perfume for $20? (different flight to Cape Town. Certainly not in SA. And please dont put somebody else's dirty laundry in my bag to make it look full, rather keep it and donate to the needy - not yourselves.

  • OzzyIn - 2012-02-21 12:28

    Hang on, if ACSA wipes out luggage theft at OR Tambo they will be putting out of business that other criminal pasttime, that of bag wrapping.

      jowza1 - 2012-02-21 12:53

      ozzy.bag wrapping is a service provided by most major airports around the world

      OzzyIn - 2012-02-21 13:20

      Jowza, no it is not. Not 1 airport in Australia does it, nor Singapore, Malaysia, LAX, JFK, Dubai, Heathrow, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Charles de Gaul (Paris), Frankfurt and Venice. These are airports I have been in during the last 18 months. So, care to share which "major airports around the world" have bag wrapping. Also bag wrapping is not a "service". At R50 per bag at ORT, it is a crime. It is also a crime when the check-in people say that your bag must be wrapped "as per airline" regulations. Not one world airline has this regulation.

  • Verisha - 2012-02-21 12:46

    i dont believe these stats -so 1 person bags tampered on average on each flight ? i think not

      Nosiphom - 2012-02-21 12:50

      Is it more or less ? Remember they are talking about what gets reported, some bag tempering is not reported if you are not aware that something has been stolen.

  • brian.ellse - 2012-02-21 13:08

    My mother booked her shrink-wrapped luggage (3 bags) in at OR Tambo in January. Arrived in Harare with one bag de-wrapped, lock broken, and one cellphone (of 3 in the bag) missing, the cheapest one nogal! Saw the de-wrapped bag crossing the tarmac at Harare (disitinctive ribbon on it!) on the luggage trolley, so was definitely OR Tambo staff stealing.

  • Arnaud - 2012-02-21 13:10

    they a bunch of thieves happen to me every second week. 80 flights a year.2009.2010.2011 and now 2012

  • Konstabel - 2012-02-21 13:15

    Well done ACSA! And please keep the pressure on as 1% of bags being tampered with is still too high.

  • mastermindpete - 2012-02-21 13:16

    I was a victim of bag theft only last week - good to see this happening !!!

  • Assis - 2012-02-21 13:18


  • Deon - 2012-02-21 13:24

    Give us the names and photo's. We will sort it out. Or are they part of the ANC team again.

  • dave.j.colquhoun - 2012-02-21 13:27

    This case is just a fraction of the numbers of people involved in the theft of luggage in our airports. Unfortunately, it is a fact that the O.R. Tambo is the worst airport in the Southern Hemisphere for luggage theft which is hardly surprising when you consider that a recent independant survey undertaken at O.R. Tambo international Airport revealed that 75% of those people handling your bags have readily admitted that they would steal from a bag given the opportunity. The sad thing here is that those involved are protected in high places so the SAPS can do very little to get involved unless a case is opened by ACSA and there are certain people within within the upper echelons ACSA who do not want the SAPS sniffing around their operations. All 5 of these cretins need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and ACSA needs to change their attitude by employing respectable security personnel instead of relying of the riff raff that they employ at the moment.

  • Ally - 2012-02-21 13:38

    They should still face criminal charges. Take them to court so they can be named. Or else just chop they hands off ... teach them to stop taking what doesn't belong to them!

  • Mohsin - 2012-02-21 13:41

    Well done ACSA!

  • Liz - 2012-02-21 13:42

    Fired is not good enough. It's time for companies to get serious. This pandemic of thieves helping themselves to stuff that does not belong to them needs to be stopped.( or is it a culture)?

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