South Africa recorded an increase in hijackings from January to March 2021.
While car hijackings increased by 5%, the hijacking of trucks increased by a shocking 25%.
The city of Cape Town this week removed loads of bricks and blocks of concrete from a number of highways across the city, and warned of a spike in hijackings in certain areas.
In Gauteng, criminals use spikes to target motorists. Here’s what you need to know, how to stay safe and which areas to avoid.
Hijacking hotspots in Gauteng
The preferred modus operandi in Gauteng is for criminals to place spikes strategically on highways to force motorists off the road.
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In addition, hijackers throw solid objects from overhead bridges in the hopes that a motorist will lose control of their vehicle. Authorities urge motorists to be vigilant, especially on Friday evenings.
“These incidents happen especially on Friday evenings and throughout the weekend between 6pm and 4am in the morning,” Gauteng traffic police said.
While traffic police will continue to monitor Gauteng’s major routes and freeways, motorists are advised to avoid the following hotspots.
- R21 Freeway from OR Tambo International Airport to Pretoria.
- The Golden Highway
- The N4 Pretoria to Mpumalanga between Bronkhorstspruit and Balmoral offramp
- The N4 Mpumalanga to Pretoria between Solomon Mahlangu and Watermeyer offramp
- The N4 to Rustenburg between R80 Mabopane Highway and Brits plaza tollgate
- The N1 Polokwane N4 Mpumalanga interchange in Pretoria
Hijacking hotspots in Cape Town
The hijacking modus operandi in Cape Town is the placing of rubble in the road to force motorists to stop. The city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, says it “has become a near-nightly occurrence”.
Criminals place the obstacles and lie in wait for motorists to pull over. They also use the cover of inclement weather such as mist or heavy rain, as visibility and the possibility of spotting the obstacles will be reduced.
“The success of the ambush is based on motorists not being able to see the obstruction and therefore daytime incidents are rare. Despite this, motorists need to be vigilant at all times,” Smith said.
Smith said traffic officers assisted between two and six vehicles every night and were monitoring the following high-risk areas, predominantly between midnight and 4am:
- Between Borcherds Quarry as far as the Symphony Way bridge
- Inbound between the R300 and the Airport approach offramp
Criminals strategically place rubble across lanes to force motorists to swerve from one lane to the next, so you are not even safe just sticking to the middle lane any more.
Smith warns: “Do not be fooled into thinking that it’s a stone that may have fallen off a truck or it’s there by accident. These are deliberate criminal attempts.”
How to stay safe
The South African Police Service (Saps), during a previous spate of hijackings in Gauteng, called on motorists to ensure their vehicles were in good condition.
Furthermore, authorities strongly discourage motorists from stopping on the highway to drop off or collect passengers. Remember, there is safety in motion.
Use alternative routes where possible but avoid stopping in remote locations as the most dangerous times for hijacking are when a vehicle is stationary, and when an area is deserted.
If you do need to rest, only stop in designated rest areas. Drive to the nearest petrol station or police station if you need to inspect your vehicle.
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