Stop the thieves at Jo'burg airport.

Author:Ankomah, Baffour

Theft from traveller's checked-in luggage at Johannesburg's main airport has reached epidemic proportions but the authorities have failed miserably to do anything to stop this despicable behaviour.

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it"--Margaret Thatcher

On 16 November 2000, The Times (of London) ran a reader's letter by one David Beech of Retford in Nottinghamshire about marital harmony, which makes me laugh any time I come across it in my scrapbook. Under the headline, 'Undercover theory', Mr Beech wrote:

"Sir, Professor Thomas (letter, November 13) needs my help. Whatever the global weather pattern, if the duvet ends up with me, my wife explains that I have unconsciously pulled it; if It is found entirely with my wife, I am told that I have inadvertently pushed it. This Is irrefutable evidence of marital harmony--nothing else."

Most married men would share Mr Beech's sentiments. Wives, they are special. And who could do without them?

Harmony was Mr Beech's key word. The harmony of marriage. This month I want to focus on the harmony of travel. It is a simple principle. There is no travel without passenger and luggage, whether you are coming from your village to town, or going abroad, luggage (some call it baggage) is number one in the order of things you need.

Thus, for the travel experience to be complete, there must be harmony between passenger and luggage and the other things in-between. So whether you are travelling by plane or bus, it is most disconcerting to find that your luggage did not arrive, or it arrived but tampered with by thieves officially employed as baggage handlers at the airport or bus terminal. The stealing disturbs the flow of harmony between passenger and luggage. The feeling is terrible. This is why I am bringing up the matter again after I had written about it many years ago.

Somebody, higher up on the food chain, will have to save travellers from thieves officially employed as baggage handlers at Johannesburg airport, otherwise known as O.R. Tambo Airport, ironically named after one of South Africa's most illustrious sons. How wicked can anyone be, dragging the good name of Oliver Tambo in the mud at the airport named after him!

I am not the only one whose luggage has been tampered with and some of the contents stolen at O.R. Tambo. Thousands and thousands of passengers who pass through that airport have such harrowing tales to tell--to the extent that most passengers these days try to play it...

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