While South Africa has seen a slight decrease in hijackings year-on-year, the numbers are still alarmingly high, with some provinces experiencing a big jump in hijackings.
Presenting the latest quarterly crime statistics for the second quarter of the year – July 2023 to September 2023 – the South African Police Service (SAPS) noted that 6,009 cars were hijacked over the three-month period.
This is a decline of 2.3% compared to the same period in 2022. However, it equates to approximately 66 cars being stolen daily in the country.
According to the SAPS, two provinces experienced a notable year-on-year increase (>10%) in hijackings – these being the Mpumalanga (14.1%) and North West (13.5%).
Interestingly, the Eastern Cape saw a 15.9% decrease in carjackings, followed by the Western Cape (-8.2%) and Kwa-Zulu Natal (-7.9%), while Limpopo saw a 5.1% decline in hijackings.
Despite the meagre increase in Gauteng, carjackings are most prevalent in South Africa’s most populous regions, such as Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape.
Gauteng saw 2,984 hijackings, representing 49.7% of all carjackings in Q2 2023/24. the Western Cape experienced 887 carjackings, and Kwa-Zulu Natal saw 880.
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. In Mpumalanga, Witbank has the highest reported cases, increasing 225% compared to last year.
The top hijacking hotspots for the three most populated provinces are listed below.
- Orange Farms
- Philippi East
Santam noted in its report that it has seen a shift away from older, low-value vehicles with limited security requirements to more expensive double cabs and SUVs. This aligned with the experiences of private security companies such as Fidelity ADT.
According to Fidelity, vehicles under the Toyota, VW, Ford, and Nissan brands continue to be common targets among criminals, and the specific models include:
- Toyota Hilux, Fortuner, and Corollas
- VW Polos
- Nissan NP200s
However, much like Santam’s experience, Fidelity noted that high-value cars such as Toyota Prados and Toyota Landcruisers are among the most popular models for criminals, along with the Hilux bakkie and Fortuner SUV.
The issue is so persistent with Toyota vehicles that the automaker developed numerous safety upgrades for models with the keyless entry ability, which it started providing to customers free of charge in December 2022.
Santam added that these vehicles, along with other high-value targets, are up to 20 times more likely than similar-priced models to be hijacked or stolen. Unsurprisingly, it added that the two most high-risk provinces for vehicle hijackings and theft are Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal.
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 2,841 of the vehicles hijacked, followed by bakkies which accounted for 1,878.
These vehicle segments represented 47.3% and 31.3% of all the hijacked cars in the second quarter of 2023.