By Pinky Khoabane
The Oppenheimers are South Africa’s wealthiest family having made their ill-gotten money off the blood of Africans here and surrounding countries in diamond mines….But they want more…a porous international entry point into South Africa for the rich that puts this country at risk of illicit diamonds, human trafficking, armaments, drugs and much more…And guess what? They are operating on a National Key Point but they are Oppenheimers you see, they can capture a country’s borders and there’s no uproar from the media or any of our modern-day moralists and anti-state capture activists.
Last week, Judge Sulet Potteril gave the Oppenheimer-owned Fireblade Aviation (Pty) Ltd permission to operate an international port-of-entry from it’s luxury aircraft facility based at OR Tambo International Airport.
The service will allow passengers from around the world, who don’t want to go through the OR Tambo International Airport and its laborious checks to go straight through to Fireblade and into the country.
The ruling follows a court battle between Fireblade, Denel and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), which at the time was under Minister Malusi Gigaba.
In papers placed before the Gauteng High Court early last year, Fireblade demanded that Denel, from whom it leases space for its 7-star operation, should withdraw its objection to an application it (Fireblade) had made to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for a customs and immigration service at its facility.
At issue for Denel was Fireblade’s non compliance with security measures stipulated for a National Key Point. It objected to the application on the basis of “security concerns” which it said included the risk of drug and human trafficking and illicit smuggling of material such as money, precious metals and weaponry.
Denel is a strategic state asset that operates within the defence systems, weaponry and military related projects, both nationally and internationally and it argued that due to the nature of its business, the “security risk to personnel, material, information, secrets and espionage are real and serious”.
In addition to risks of espionage and illicit smuggling, Denel is situated in an area called Kempton Park Campus which is designated as a National Key Point. As such all companies operating in the area have to comply with security policies and procedures enforced by the National Key Points Act.
Fireblade argued that Gigaba had approved its application and should not be allowed to change his mind without good reason. The Judge agreed. Fireblade has argued that Gigaba changed his mind following pressure from the Guptas who were said to have been interested in the project.
In court documents filed by Fireball early last year however, the company does not mention the Guptas despite having allegedly earlier known about their interest according to a Sunday Times article.