File picture: David Ritchie/ANA

Port Elizabeth - Eastern Cape police on Friday warned that the "culture" in which mourners race their cars and fire guns in the air at funerals of hijackers is unlawful. 

Police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni said this behaviour was unacceptable and endangered members of the public at graveyards and those attending the funeral, including innocent bystanders.

“These alleged hijackers, known by the popular title of ‘Amagintsa’ have an abhorred culture and dangerous trend of stealing vehicles only to burn them later or during the funerals of one or more of their own.

“Some of them would go to the extent of shooting randomly in the air in any direction; a conduct that is equivalent to attempted murder or murder of innocent people,” Tonjeni said.

Tonjela said during the launch of Operation Fiela 2 last week Friday', Eastern Cape police learnt that a notable number of funerals of hijackers were scheduled to happen throughout that weekend.  

Members were deployed at the venues of the funerals, on major roads and at the graveyards to ensure that no one conducted himself/herself in such a manner.

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga said: “We were in Port Elizabeth with Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Safety,  Mr Peter launching Operation Fiela 2 when we noted criminals who were trying to hijack cars.”

“Some went to VW plant to rob seven cars but police managed to recover some of those stolen vehicles. We sent our members to stop them at their tracks and even in funerals we deployed police vehicles and members to protect the public and stamp our authority," Ntshinga said.   

African News Agency/ANA