Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

The South African airline has been barred from flying to Madagascar for three months, apparently because Madagascar wants 73.5kg of confiscated gold and three jailed citizens back.

Airlink flights to Madagascar have remained banned for three months because of an unresolved spat between the Indian Ocean island state and South Africa over Pretoria’s refusal to return confiscated gold bullion and alleged smugglers.

The dispute is now being addressed at the highest level as an official delegation from Madagascar is expected to meet President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, according to Airlink’s CEO, Rodger Foster.

The government of President Andry Rajoelina has prevented Airlink — the only South African company flying the route — from operating in the country since April.

Though Madagascar has never confirmed this officially, Airlink and Pretoria believe the ban is in retaliation for South Africa’s refusal to return 73.5 kg of gold bars, worth about R70-million today, and $20,000 in cash that was confiscated from three Madagascan nationals who flew into Fireblade Aviation, a private terminal at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, on a private charter flight from Madagascar on 31 December 2020.

South Africa has also refused to release the couriers, though the Kempton Park Magistrates’…

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By Joy

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