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SAA drugs bust

We were not surprised at the SAA drug bust which occurred at London Heathrow on the 20th Jan 2009. There's strong demand for drugs in the UK, and where there's demand supply often follows (South Africa seems to produce a fair amount of marijuana, and be a trans-shipment point for heroin and cocaine). Flights from Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey are apparently the favourite flights for which to bring out the sniffer dogs in London (and flights from Switzerland for money-laundering); but it's not the first time a female SAA crew member has been involved in bringing drugs into the UK on flight SAA234.

The chain of events

23 Jan 2009

Mothlaga and Hlahane appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on charges of corruption and fraud.

22 Jan 2009

Mmatshu Mothlaga (35), a South African Airways air hostess, is arrested in Johannesburg. Mothlaga is married to a Nigerian national.

21 Jan 2009

Pulane Hlahane is arrested by South African detectives, after confessing during questioning. Hlahane worked for Reshebile Aviation and Protection Services, who SAA had hired to check its air crew. She was responsible for screening of SAA's air crew at Airport Park.

20 Jan 2009

The entire crew (5 men and 10 women) of flight SAA234 are arrested in London after landing at 0800 GMT, after the UK Border Agency found 50kg marijuana in 3 crew bags (a further search later would reveal 4kg of cocaine), who then passed them on to Customs. They were later granted unconditional bail and instructed to report back to London Heathrow police station on 23 March 2009. The SAA crew were taken off flying duties.

Just for laughs

And I never could understand the number of over the top luxury vehicles in staff parking.

"Chicken or beef"...the crew should be familiar with the prison menu!

"And these are the people you trust with your lives in an emergency"

"In the old days it was rocket fuel which destroyed the passengers, crew and plane...these days only party powder".

"How much weed was in the bag before they left Johannesburg...may explain why the cabin crew have difficulty waking up to serve breakfast before you land in London".

"Only 50 kilos of dagga...that's personal use!"

"50kg of luggage...is SAA going to charge the crew member an excess luggage fee?!"

Let SAA be screened along with crew of other flights

SAA seem to be the only airline who do not follow the normal customs and baggage screening procedure at O.R. Tambo International Airport. Since this isn't working, let the SAA crew be screened alongside other passengers and airline crew.

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