Don’t resist or be antagonistic: Hawks share tips on what to do during a hijacking

File Picture:Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

File Picture:Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 25, 2022


Pretoria – The Hawks in Mpumalanga are concerned about rampant hijacking incidents in the province, which they have described as “alarming”.

Hawks’ spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said, before any trip, motorists are advised to prepare adequately for the journey to ensure they would not get stuck on the way.

“Before leaving your house or undertaking a journey, ensure that everything in your vehicle is in adequate condition to avoid being stuck on the road. Prepare for your journey. Know the direction and destination of where you are going,” she said.

“Ensure that before driving off, all windows and doors are properly locked. Have the contact numbers of the police stations, emergency services, family members, neighbours, colleagues or any other numbers which you can call in the stage of predicaments.”

Tips on what to do during hijacking incidents.

The Hawks advised motorists to avoid picking up strangers on the road.

“Do not pick up hitch-hikers or strangers on the road. While driving, check the rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being followed. When you see a suspicious vehicle following you, alert the police with information about the vehicle, model, colour, registration numbers, and number of occupants if possible and proper direction or you can drive to the nearest police station,” Sekgotodi said.

“Ensure that while approaching traffic lights or stop signs, allow adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Do not entertain the stranger who would hoot or try to stop you while driving especially at night. You rather let them follow you while driving straight to the police station.

“Do not park on the side road to refresh or relieve yourself, you better stop at the service station,” she said.

The Hawks advised that when approaching one’s vehicle in a parking area, if motorists notice a suspicious vehicle or persons in the vicinity, they should not proceed.

In such incidents, motorists are advised to report the matter to the police or to approach security officers for help.

“When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles/persons. This is very important as the majority of hijackers approach their victims in home driveways,” Sekgotodi said.

In the unfortunate incident of a hijacking, the Hawks advised motorists to co-operate with the assailants.

“Remember, your life is worth more than your vehicle. Do not antagonise or aggravate the hijacker(s). Do not resist. Avoid making eye contact, the hijacker may perceive this as a threat,” Sekgotodi said.

“Leave the engine running and exit the vehicle. Try to put as much space between you and the hijacker(s). Remain calm and try to take note of as many details of the hijacker(s) as possible.

“Keep your cellphone on your body as the hijackerwill not allow you to take the cellphone,” Sekgotodi said.

In August, Statistics South Africa raised the alarm on the “significant” increase in hijackings across South Africa over the past 12 months.

Releasing the results of the Victims of Crime Report from the Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey (GPSJS) 2021/22 at a media briefing in Pretoria, Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said there has been a marked increase in hijackings.

“There has been a significant increase in hijackings between the year 2020/21 and 2021/22 period … In the 2020/21 period there were 15  000, and now we have gone all the way to 330 000 in the past five years,” he said.

According to the Stats SA survey, about 62.9% of individuals who experienced hijackings reported some or all of the incidents to the police.

About 1.1 million people 16 years old and older experienced theft of personal property in 2021/22. That percentage represents 2.6% of South Africa’s population of 16 and older.