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Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 17:04 UK

'Porous' South Africa airport security exposed

Passengers at OR Tambo airport
South Africa has upgraded its airports for the World Cup

South African journalists say they have smuggled dangerous items onto domestic flights in hand luggage ahead of next month's football World Cup.

The journalist behind the report told the BBC the items included knives, syringes, screwdrivers and razors.

Mandy Weiner said security was "porous", as banned items had got onto more than half the flights targeted.

But an airport security spokesperson said both local and international standards were being met.

As part of the investigation carried out by South Africa's Eyewitness News, 10 planes departing from major tourist hubs in South Africa were targeted over three months.

Ms Weiner explained that on one occasion a journalist tried to smuggle "harmless products masquerading as explosives."

"We labelled them as two products which, if combined, could bring down a plane," she said.

These products - a green liquid and salt - were confiscated but Ms Weiner says the officials did not realise they could be dangerous.

Solomon Makgale from the Airports Company Security of South Africa told the BBC that airport security in South Africa is "highly regulated".

He explained that new x-ray machines and metal detectors had been bought to improve security.

"On a daily basis there's over 700 prohibited items that we detect," he said.

Some 350,000 people are expected to visit South Africa for the World Cup, which is being held in Africa for the first time and starts on 11 June.



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