ACSA issues apology to traveller following allegations of luggage tampering

A luggage suitcase left unattended at an airport. Picture: Unsplash.

A luggage suitcase left unattended at an airport. Picture: Unsplash.

Published Jan 4, 2024


The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has issued an apology to a traveller following allegations that their luggage was tampered with, and they have warned employees that any criminal activity at the airport will be dealt with according to the law.

The apology comes after South African musician, DJ Stokie, took to social media platform X, and alleged that his luggage was tampered with at O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on 30th December 2023.

“So yesterday I boarded a flight @emirates flight EK766 to Dubai at @ortambo_int airport at 21h45 only to have my bag vandalised and had all my branded items stolen, my sneakers and clothes all gone, this seems to be a norm with the staff at Or Tambo that checks in our bags 🥲.”

DJ Stokies’ complaint opened a can of worms for the airport as more travellers opened up about their experiences transiting with their luggage at the airport.

Another traveller, @Neo08756796, said: “This has been happening for YEARS and it seems that @ortambo_int and @Airports_ZA refuse to do anything about it. Mind you, if someone can open your bag to take stuff out, then they can as easily put stuff in. Next thing you're banged up abroad for things you don't know 😫.”

Whilst another X user, @LesediiP, said: “So disappointed with @emirates. There is a syndicate going on at @ortambo_int of vandalizing and stealing peoples luggage . My luggage got stolen and I have lost all my valuable items including bags and jewellery on my flight EK764 at 18:50 on 29/12/2023.”

Following the public outcry, ACSA issued an apology on behalf of OR Tambo and revealed that it has a zero-tolerance approach to baggage pilfering and theft at airports.

“Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is aware of a recent incident at OR Tambo International Airport in which a passenger’s baggage was tampered with and possessions stolen – ACSA regrets this incident and would like to sincerely apologise to the affected traveller,” said the airports management company.

Commenting on the matter, ACSA Regional General Manager of OR Tambo, Jabulani Khambule, said that ACSA is currently cooperating with the relevant airline and baggage handling company to ensure the incident is thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators are brought to book immediately.

“I would like to remind our customers that ACSA has a zero-tolerance approach to criminality and any forms of illegal behaviour by any airport staff, whether they are directly employed by ACSA or contracted to work at our airports.”

“We will ensure that the investigation into this incident results in the apprehension of the perpetrators who will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Khambule.

Khambule added that while baggage handling is the responsibility of the airlines, ACSA will provide assistance and any relevant evidence, such as video footage, to aid the investigation and to bring those responsible to book.

“I would like to warn all airport staff that any illegal or criminal behaviour will result in serious consequences,” said Khambule.

He also reiterated that that ACSA will work to deter and fight fraud, corruption, dishonesty and theft of any kind.

“ACSA recently adopted an integrated, multi-agency safety and security approach throughout our airport network to enhance airport and aviation security in general.”

“We have rolled out an aviation security model that is vertically and horizontally integrated with various law enforcement authorities to root out criminality at our airports,” said Khambule.