While South Africa has seen a decrease in hijackings year-on-year, some provinces still experienced a big jump in hijackings – while the month-on-month data shows an upward trend in the number of carjackings.
Presenting the latest quarterly crime statistics for the first quarter of 2023/24 – 1 April to 30 June 2023 – the South African Police Service (SAPS) noted that 5,488 cars were hijacked over the three-month period.
This equates to approximately 60 cars being stolen in the country every day.
While 5,488 hijackings in the first three months of the 2023/24 financial year is a decline of 6.4% compared to the same period in 2022, month-on-month data shows that carjackings increased by 8.9% over the quarter to 1,898 in June from 1,742 in April.
According to the SAPS, one province experienced a notable year-on-year increase (>20%) in hijackings –the North West (27.6%) – while the Mpumalanga toed the line at 17.9%. Limpopo also experienced an uptick in hijackings, recording an increase of 6.2%.
Interestingly, The Northern Cape saw a 28.6% decrease in carjackings, followed by Gauteng (-12.1%), Kwa-Zulu Natal (-8.5%), Eastern Cape (-3%), and the Free State (-5.5%), while the Western Cape saw a meagre decline of 0.7%.
Despite the positive stats for Gauteng, carjackings are most prevalent in South Africa’s most populous regions, such as Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape.
Gauteng saw 2,735 hijackings, representing 49.8% of all carjackings in Q1 2023/24. Kwa-Zulu Natal experienced 835 carjackings, and the Western Cape saw 749.
Looking at more granular station data, though, the Western Cape has the most hijackings per region, with Harare in the province having the most cases – and seeing an increase of 19% over the last year.
In Gauteng, Olievenhoutbosch in Tshwane has the highest reported cases, though Protea in Johannesburg has seen a considerable increase, with the number of cases increasing by 88.2%.
The top five hijacking hotspots for the three most populated provinces are listed below.
- Orange Farms
- Philippi East
While hijackings declined slightly over the past year, the month-on-month trend aligns with claims experienced by insurers.
“At Santam, we have seen a rise in crime-related vehicle claims for theft and hijacking over the past 18 months, particularly for high-value vehicles. Santam has also seen a trend in the theft of certain keyless vehicles through hijacking and car jamming methods,” said Philippa Wild, Chief Underwriting Officer at Santam.
According to Fidelity Services group CEO Wahl Bartmann, while the decline in incidences of carjackings is a positive sign, it does not mean hijackings are no longer at alarming levels.
He added that most of the targeted vehicles are those most popular among South African motorists, which include:
- VW Polo;
- Toyota Hilux;
- Toyota Etios;
- Ford ranger;
- Toyota Fortuner; and
- Nissan NP200.
Bartmann said that Toyota Prados and Toyota Landcruisers are also among the most popular models for criminals. However, Hilux and Fortuner GD6 models are still preferred.
This trend of targeting popular hatchbacks and bakkies highlighted by Fidelity ADT is also evident in the SAPS report, which showed that Sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes accounted for 2,591 of the vehicles hijacked, followed by bakkies which accounted for 1,582.
These vehicle segments represented 47% and 29% of all the hijacked cars in the first quarter of 2023/24.