Trackers are becoming mandatory as hijacking trends shift in South Africa

A significant spike in hijackings has led to vehicle trackers increasingly becoming mandatory for insurance purposes in South Africa, a new report by Genesis Analytics and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) shows.

Data from the South African Police Services shows that carjacking incidents have increased across the country over the past three years (2018 – 2020), jumping by a 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

“Given the rising incidence of car-jackings, accidents and vehicle thefts reported in South Africa each year, insurers have adopted installation of tracking devices as a requirement for certain vehicles to qualify for cover,” Genesis Analytics said.

In cases where a tracker device is not mandatory, it can still have a substantial impact on the premiums that motorists pay, given their ability to facilitate the retrieval of stolen vehicles and to incentivise more sensible driving habits.

“Insurers are also using these trackers and other uses of IoT to evaluate and monitor the behaviours of their customers (drivers) to determine risk and make calculations on premiums and payouts. The vehicle-tracking telemetry technology allows the monitoring and evaluation process to occur in real time, potentially improving product provision and service.”


South Africa’s crime statistics for Q3 2021/2022 showed another steep increase in hijackings across the country.

The data, which was presented by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to parliament on Friday (18 February), covers the period between October and December 2021.

A total of 5,455 hijackings were reported across the country over the period – a 13.8% increase from the 4,794 hijackings reported over the same period the previous year.

However, annual trends show that hijackings remained largely flat over the three-month period, moving from a high of 1,919 incidents in October 2021 to 1,732 incidents in December 2021.

The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations in the third quarter.

Harare in the Western Cape reported the most carjackings (106), followed by Nyanga (87), and Phillipi East (79).

Uptick in hijackings seen 

Vehicle tracking company Tracker notes that hijacking has now overtaken theft as the predominant percentage of vehicle crime activities, the group said.

Data published by the group at the end of February shows hijacking attributed 57.5% of the Tracker vehicle crime activities for the second half of 2021. This is a complete reversal compared to July to December 2018, when theft accounted for 57.2% of the vehicle crime activities.

The slant towards hijacking is most likely an opportunistic tactic, with a noticeable increase in vehicles being targeted for their contents, particularly fast-moving consumable goods. Drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted, the group said.

Tracker data indicates that a higher proportion of vehicles are reported hijacked on Thursdays followed by Tuesdays, with a higher incidence of hijacking between the hours of 16h00 and 20h00.

However, the percentage difference to other days of the week and time of day is marginal. Gauteng still experiences the most vehicle crime, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

However, the Western Cape has the highest incidence of hijacking compared to theft with a 78/22% split. This is followed by Gauteng with a 55/45% split and KwaZulu-Natal with a 53/47% split in favour of hijacking.

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Trackers are becoming mandatory as hijacking trends shift in South Africa