An Italian national holding a valid South African passport has been turned away at OR Tambo International Airport when his unauthorised private charter aircraft landed in South Africa from Zimbabwe.
The plane, carrying one passenger on Wednesday, was not cleared by the Transport Department as required in terms of the current protocols implemented during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Police had to be called in to assist to force the passenger to leave the country after he refused to return to Zimbabwe.
Transport Department spokesperson Ayanda-Allie Paine: “Minister Fikile Mbalula has called for a full investigation into this incident as well as consequence management if any wrongdoing has been found to have taken place.”
Italian national holding a South African passport, was not be allowed to enter the country.
The passenger initially refused to leave, but with the intervention of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the flight left the South African airspace at 19h50, returning to Harare https://t.co/5s4czt7uVz pic.twitter.com/eKqP62RuHq
— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) April 2, 2020
A spokesperson for the Transport Ministry – Ayanda Allie Paine – says the flight from Harare, Zimbabwe landed mid-afternoon on Wednesday and was forced by the police to return north of the border just before 20:00. Fikile Mbalula has also got wind of the fiasco, and vowed to follow-up with the relevant authorities:
“A private plane landed at OR Tambo from Harare, Zimbabwe with one passenger on board. The flight was not cleared in accordance with our current lockdown protocols. A decision was made that the passenger – an Italian nation with a South African passport – would not be allowed to enter the country.”
“The passenger initially refused to leave, but with the intervention of SAPS, the flight left South African airspace and returned to Harare. We are now reviewing the necessary protocols to ensure that only authorised flights are allowed into the country. Minister Fikile Mbalula has called for a full investigation.”
- You can read the full statement here:
UNAUTHORISED LANDING OF CHARTERED FLIGHT AT O.R. TAMBO INTERNATIONAL
At approximately 12h30 on Wednesday, 1 April 2020, a private charter aircraft landed at OR Tambo International Airport from Harare, Zimbabwe with one passenger on board. pic.twitter.com/8qMIBR4nqM
— MEDIA LIAISON | Esethu Hasane (@EsethuOnDuty) April 2, 2020