SA union calls on transport minister to probe OR Tambo airport security tender

Satawu wants transport minister Blade Nzimande to probe the Acsa awarded security tender at Ortia. Source: GCIS

South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) on Thursday called on transport minister Blade Nzimande to probe how the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) awarded a five-year security contract to a foreign-owned company that “does not have the required expertise”.

“Satawu calls on the minister of transport to probe how Checkport SA came to be awarded the contract, given it did not participate in the second stage of the tendering process and it does not have the level of skill required to secure a critical national key point such as OR Tambo International Airport (Ortia),” the union said in a statement.

According to the union, Acsa awarded a tender to provide airside and restricted areas security services at Ortia to Checkport SA, which is part of multinational Swissport International.

“The awarding of the tender is suspect considering Checkport SA was not one of the companies initially vetted to bid for the contract. In 2016, Acsa ran a pre-tender process, where it called for interested companies to apply for certification so they could bid for security services at Ortia,” said the union.

“Six companies, including Fidelity and Reshebile Aviation and Protection Services, were successful and certified to bid. Checkport SA was not one of them. Understandably, industry players were shocked to hear Checkport SA had won the tender and would take over the contract as of April.”

Satawu added it was shocking that the company had been declared the successful bidder despite its 100 percent foreign-owned status. As a majority state-owned entity, Acsa is meant to promote government’s imperative of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment and job creation.

“Moreover, the contract requires specialised skills and most SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) certified screeners declined offers of employment from Checkport SA because of the low remuneration it offers. Now Checkport SA is operating with mostly new, inexperienced staff, putting national security at risk given Ortia is a national key point,” the union added.   

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