General

Motorists urged to be vigilant about car hijackings

POTCHEFSTROOM – 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.

This is after a few incidents in which vehicles were recently hijacked by unknown suspects were reported.

On Thursday, 22 July 2021, at about 15:30 near Kanana, a 39-year-old man was driving from Klerksdorp where he bought stock for his tuck shop. After he entered Kanana through the bridge, two men got out of a black Volkswagen Polo which, was parked next to the road and allegedly pointed him with firearms. Upon stopping, one of the men opened the door, but the driver managed to escape by running away and the suspects drove off with his Nissan van with stock.

In an unrelated incident on Thursday, 22 July 2021, a 55-year-old victim was driving in Boitekong in a white Mazda Drifter. He alleged that two unknown males approached him at the Engen Garage and asked him to help them to load fire wood in the bushes in Bospoort on condition that they will pay him. They all drove together in the victim’s vehicle. However, the driver was ultimately attacked and robbed of his pistol with eight rounds, two cell phones and money. They tied the victim to a tree, took his white Mazda Drifter and fled the scene. The victim was assisted by security officers and took him to the police station.

In another unrelated incident, on Friday, 23 July 2021, a 38-year-old lady was driving from Oukasie Location to Brits to pick up her husband. She allegedly stopped the vehicle, but was approached by three men who pointed her with firearms. One of the men pulled her out of the vehicle and they drove off with it.

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 or 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 hitch-hiker and do not stop next to the road except for an emergency. 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 cell phone.

• 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.

Source: South African Police Service