SAA drug-smuggling case postponed

The case against a security guard and an SAA cabin crew member arrested for alleged drug smuggling was postponed for a week by the Kempton Park Regional Court on Friday.

Security officer Pulane Hlahane, 43, and SAA employee Mmatshuma Matlhara, 35, appeared briefly on fraud and corruption charges before Magistrate Prince Manyathi.

State prosecutor Kaizer Mpepele told the court that Hlahane allegedly provided Matlhara with extra security tags so that she could travel with extra luggage containing illegal substances.

“It is alleged there were payments exchanged between the accused, but more details will be established during the investigation,” Mpepele said.

The case was postponed to January 30 for a formal bail application.

The two will remain in custody.

Mpepele told the court that the police were expecting to arrest more people in connection with the case and that if that happened the date for next appearance could change.

He also indicated that the state intends to oppose bail for the accused because they are facing serious charges.

The two were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

This followed the detention of three SAA pilots and 12 cabin crew members by British authorities for alleged drug possession at London’s Heathrow Airport earlier this week.

They were later released, but will have to return to London in March for further questioning.—Sapa

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