All of South Africa is a hijacking hotspot

 ·16 Jun 2023

Despite an overall decrease in the number of carjackings in certain hotspot areas in South Africa, drivers shouldn’t get complacent or let their guard down, says Eugene Herbert, the CEO of MasterDrive.

He said that while reports and statistics point to ‘hotspots’ for hijackings in the country, the reality is that the crime can take place anywhere.

“While (hotspot) information is certainly important to educate drivers on areas where they should be on high alert, also be cautious that information like this does not lull you into a false sense of security,” said Herbert.

The CEO added that drivers must not relax in certain areas and must maintain high awareness of potentially dangerous situations at all times.

“Just because you drive through Constantia and not Nyanga in the Western Cape, does not mean you can let your guard down. Be selective of the message you take from content and do not increase your own risk.”

The unfortunate truth is that hijackers have been a blight on South Africa for a very long time. “As such, drivers can never ignore the continual risk it presents,” he said.

Crime stats provided by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the fourth quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year were released recently, showing that the number of drivers hijacked decreased from 5,608 to 5,119 – a drop of 489 cases.

“This is encouraging compared to the third quarter, which noted a 30% increase compared to pre-Covid levels,” said Herbert.

The SAPS data showed that both the Northern Cape and the North West saw significant increases in the number of highjackings – 37.5% and 23%, respectively. The Free State followed closely with a 19% increase, while the Western Cape saw a 7.4% increase.

It added that Gauteng witnessed a 12.4% decrease in carjackings, followed by Mpumalanga, also seeing a decrease of 12.2%, and Kwazulu-Natal, down 1.9%.

The Western Cape saw a 7.4% jump in carjackings.

While there is a positive trend in Gauteng, carjackings continue to be widespread in South Africa’s most populous areas: Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape.

In the fourth quarter of 2022/23, Gauteng had the highest number of carjackings, with 2,573 incidents, comprising 50.3% of all carjackings. Kwa-Zulu Natal reported 859 carjackings, while the Western Cape saw 624 cases.

Hijackers are not only more prevalent in certain areas but are also targeting certain cars – many very popular choices for everyday South Africans.

According to security company Fidelity, vehicles under the VW, Toyota, Ford, and Nissan brands continue to be common targets among criminals – specific models include:

  • Toyota Hilux, Fortuner, and Corollas
  • VW Polos
  • Nissan NP200s

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