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Department of Transport vehicle hijacked outside Umlazi while conducting flood repairs

The technicians were held up at gunpoint and the suspects fled in the department's white Ford Ranger double cab (KZN 13445).

The technicians were held up at gunpoint and the suspects fled in the department's white Ford Ranger double cab (KZN 13445).

Published Apr 28, 2022


Durban - Brazen criminals hijacked a KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, community safety and liaison vehicle being used by officials repairing flood damage in Durban.

Department technicians were travelling from a site where they were fixing the L1159 road in Umbumbulu, south of Durban, which was washed away during the recent heavy rains and flooding.

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The department said the incident happened at the Shell garage at KwaMuthwa outside uMlazi on Freedom Day.

The technicians were held up at gunpoint and the suspects fled in the department's white Ford Ranger double cab (KZN 13445).

The department said a case of carjacking had been opened and police were investigating.

It appealed to anyone with information on the incident to share it with the police in order to recover the vehicle.

Police had not responded to queries by the time of publication.

Reacting to the incident, MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said it was unfortunate that department employees were sacrificing their holidays to service communities, only to be targeted by criminals.

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“Our teams are doing all they can to attend to all flood-affected projects – only to be traumatised and be victimised by criminals. This is undermining the government-led recovery and reconstruction plan. We strongly condemn this act of criminality and it must be punished harshly,” Nkonyeni said.

“Government officials and equipment are public resources and are servicing the community. What kind of society would attack and harm the assistance meant to restore projects affecting their livelihood? We appeal to the police to urgently find the perpetrators. Communities as well should protect state employees and state equipment.”

The department added that its teams were hard at work, collaborating with other spheres of government as part of the recovery and reconstruction plan to rebuild the province.

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Yellow plant and departmental personnel from other parts of the province were assigned to assist flood-ravaged areas such as the eThekwini metro, Ugu, Ilembe and King Cetshwayo districts.

The department said more than 1 369 road infrastructure projects were affected by recent floods and required an estimated R6.3 billion to repair the damage and restore safe connectivity in the province.

In recent years, department service delivery efforts in the province have been hampered by vehicle thefts and hijackings.

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In September 2020, department of agriculture and rural development MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi announced that officials had been hijacked while working in some areas.

In February 2020, eight government-owned vehicles were stolen from the department of agriculture and rural development offices in Ndwedwe, north of Durban.

After the robbery, detectives offered a R50 000 reward for information that could lead to the robbers’ arrest.

The vehicles were three Nissan Hardbody, three Toyota Hilux, one Isuzu single cab and one Ford Ranger.

A total of six vehicles were recovered in different areas. Four suspects were placed under arrest.

Daily News