On Thursday, the Office of the Provincial Commissioner of the North West issued a warning to motorists in the area to practise caution and be aware of potential hijacking hotspots…
“Motorists travelling in the North West, especially in the Bojanala Platinum district are urged to exercise caution when stopping next to the road or when ordered to stop by other motorists as they could be potential hijackers,” said a statement from the police.
All4Women has reported on a number of incidents taking place since August:
- In August this year, six children were killed in KZN while fleeing hijackers were attempting to get away from first responders.
- An estate agent was nearly hijacked in broad daylight while on the way to an appointment in Johannesburg in October. Thankfully eyewitnesses were able to step in and prevent a potentially tragic incident.
- In Cape Town, an inspector for the Animal Welfare Society of SA was almost hijacked when he stopped to help a dog on the side of the road. This was the third hijacking the proud father had encountered this year. His work often takes him to some of the most violent areas of Cape Town.
- In late October, a motorist was hailed as a ‘hero’ after he shot back at alleged hijackers in Pinetown, Durban. Three hijackers attempted to take his vehicle.
Three hijacking incidents have also taken place in the North West in November:
Man hijacked while picking up a passenger:
On Monday, 16 November 2020, at about 21:15 in Tlhabane, a 40-year-old victim allegedly stopped to pick up a person in Mokgethi Street. He parked in front of a gate and climbed out of the vehicle. He was allegedly pointed with a firearm and instructed to get back inside his Blue VW Polo. He managed to escape by running away and two suspects drove off in his Polo.
Man locked inside bakkie’s canopy after being robbed:
In an unrelated incident on Wednesday, 18 November 2020, a 44-year-old victim was allegedly travelling on the N4 road at about 09:20 close to Swartruggens in a Nissan NP 200 bakkie. A Hyundai i20 vehicle approached him from behind. As a result, he allegedly drove into the yellow lane to allow the Hyundai to overtake.
However, it is alleged that one of the occupants of the Hyundai pointed him with a firearm and instructed him to stop. Two males from the Hyundai got inside the bakkie and drove it to a nearby power station where he was robbed of boxes of cellphones.
The suspects then locked the victim inside the canopy of his Nissan bakkie before fleeing from the scene. The victim managed to break the rear window of his bakkie in order to escape and contacted the police on his cellphone.
Hitchhikers attack driver & female passenger:
In another unrelated incident, on Sunday, 22 November 2020, a driver of a Toyota Verso, accompanied by his lady friend, picked up four hitchhikers at Bothaville. He proceeded to drive to the Ysterspruit Road in Jouberton and just after midnight, a black VW Polo stopped in front of his vehicle.
The four men (hitchhikers) in his vehicle took out knives and threatened to stab him. He and his lady friend were tied up and robbed of cash and a cellphone by the suspects who drove off with his vehicle.
How to protect yourself from becoming a hijacking victim:
The SAPS shared the following information to help motorists be more aware of the dangers around them, and how to make themselves less vulnerable to potential hijackings.
Motorists are requested to exercise caution when stopped by unknown persons and to report such incidents to the nearest police station. If stopped by Police of Traffic officials and you feel unsafe / threatened, put on your hazard lights and slowly drive to the nearest police station.
Never ever offer a lift to a hitchhiker and do not stop next to the road except for an emergency. People stopping to relieve themselves have also fallen victim of this crime.
People stopping to relieve themselves have also fallen victim of this crime.
As part of curbing such incidents, motorists are requested to take heed and apply the following safety hints:
- A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable.
- Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.
- Always check the rear-view mirror to see if you are being followed.
- Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked and put all valuables out of sight.
- Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cellphone.
- If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.
- When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green especially during the night.
- If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty.
- When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.
- Avoid driving through unfamiliar areas.
- Avoid driving late at night / early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.
- Drive in the centre lane away from pedestrians where possible.
- If possible, never drive alone.
- Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.
- If possible, avoid driving in the dark.
- Hijackers may stage a minor accident, for e.g. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, indicate he / she must follow you and drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area for help.