‘Under attack’: Grocery trucks targeted by hijackers

"Loads that are being hijacked are things easy to move like groceries. Sugar and oil are being hijacked a lot, as well as nappies and cold drinks."

Truck hijackings have hit hard for transporters of food across the nation.

A representative from SA Truck King told The Citizen the industry is under attack.

“It has just been getting worse. A couple of months ago 4 400 hampers were made to be taken to Cape Town and the hampers were loaded in two trucks. Both the trucks were hijacked and all the hampers were stolen,” said the company’s Afzal Hamed.

He said hijackers sometimes dressed in police uniforms and used police-marked cars, conducting ‘roadblocks’ to stop the trucks and hijack them.

“Loads that are being hijacked are things easy to move like groceries. Sugar and oil are being hijacked a lot, as well as nappies and cold drinks,” explained Hamed.

READ ALSO: Two metro cops among 13 nabbed for truck hijacking

Increase every year

CEO of the Road Freight Association Gavin Kelly confirmed to The Citizen there had been an increase in truck hijackings every year.

According to Statista in 2023, there were 1 996 truck hijackings in South Africa, an increase over the previous year. Truck hijackings have more than doubled since 2012, when 821 incidents were reported.

Empire Security Solution told The Citizen truck hijackings were often inside jobs.

“The hijackers know what load the truck is carrying and before they take the truck they already have a buyer.”

READ ALSO: Cop and robbers: Officer among 16 held for truck-jacking and tyre theft

Modus operandi

“Truck gets hijacked, they use a jammer to jam the tracking system. The truck gets taken to a warehouse where the truck is offloaded. The empty truck is then taken and dumped somewhere. There is big money involved. These guys are very strategic in their planning.”

The company added another modus operandi involved using a woman to hold a ‘baby’ on the road for a lift, hoping truck drivers will feel sorry for them and stop.

“People act like they are hiking and need a lift. This is syndicate-driven. It’s like a business. Every day trucks are being taken and it is not reported.”

READ ALSO: Hijackers flee with truck offloading medication at Gqeberha clinic

Crime Intelligence in full force

Minister Bheki Cele said on Tuesday the intelligence community is gaining back its bite.

“Crime Intelligence operators with the work of informants and units within the Saps continue to clamp down on organised crimes linked to kidnapping, extortion, narcotics, cash-in-transit, vehicle and truck hijackings.

“Again we are not moved and we remain focused. The fact is, the Saps is more coordinated and working closer with communities to dismantle syndicates or individuals who choose a life of crime. Police through their aggressive approach to crime have fired a warning shot to all elements of criminality and those who support crime,” he said.

Editor’s note: A previous version of the story incorrectly said Afzal Hamed was a former representative of SA Long-Distance Truckers.

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