Ex-Banyana star hijacked, Moroka open field a dumping site for car-stripping syndicates

Portia Modise. Picture: Supplied

Portia Modise. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 7, 2024


Members of the community of Moroka, Soweto, one of the country’s leading car hijacking hot spots, have voiced their concerns about the lack of attention the police and the City of Joburg are paying to the issue of carjacking taking place in a local open field.

This field has become an illegal dumping site which is allegedly being used by car thieves and carjackers as their preferred car-stripping spot.

According to MA Selepe, founder of Selepe Community Protection Services, the notorious spot reportedly receives no fewer than 20 cars per week.

The community’s plea for help comes just hours after former Banyana Banyana player Portia Modise was on Saturday hijacked by gun-wielding thugs who took her car outside her White City, Soweto, home.

In a video circulated on social media, Modise said a group of guys pointed firearms at her and took the car along with her belongings.

“I’m not okay, guys. I need your help to get my car back. Please, guys, I didn’t sleep at all. My car was taken by young guys who pointed firearms at me,” she said in the video.

She asked for the community’s assistance in finding her car, a blue VW Golf.

Former Banyana Banyana star Portia Modise’s car was hijacked outside her Soweto home on Saturday night. Picture: X

These cars, which are usually stolen in and around Soweto and other parts of the city, are stripped bare in the middle of the night daily, community members say.

According to the latest crime figures, of the 5 973 cases of hijacking, 3 010 (50%) took place in Gauteng. This was followed by KwaZulu-Natal, which accounted for 14% (834 cases) of all hijackings in the country.

Moroka is said to be the biggest carjacking hot spot and accounts for the bulk of these numbers.

The SAPS recently presented the latest quarterly crime statistics from October to December 2023.

According to the report, 5 973 cars were hijacked during this three-month period, equivalent to about 66 cars being stolen daily. This figure represents a 6.5% increase from the same period in 2022.

The police further reported that police precincts with the highest recorded cases of hijacking were Ivory Park in Gauteng; Philippi East, Harare and Nyanga in the Western Cape; and Moroka, Loate, Orange Farm, Eldorado Park, Thembisa and Jabulani in Gauteng.

In 2020, Soweto reported six carjackings in one night.

Speaking to “The Star” on Sunday, Selepe said the community lives in fear of carjackers who operate in the open field at night.

He said attempts to get the police to stop crime and monitor the open filed have fallen on deaf ears even though the police are aware of what is happening.

“That space has been a hub or a dumping place for most of the stolen cars in Johannesburg. I was there with my team and we have tried to raise these concerns to the City of Joburg and the police, but it looks like they are ignoring what we have been saying because this has been happening for years now. I once tried to talk to JPC to give me a stand so we can utilise it for the benefit of the community," he said.

An open filed in Moroka North, Soweto, where hijacked cars are stripped. Picture: Supplied

According to Selepe, some of the cars are burnt while others are stripped for parts by local thugs who operate in the area. He said it has become a daily thing that community members awake to burnt cars or shells of cars after the criminals are done stripping them.

An open filed in Moroka North, Soweto, where hijacked cars are stripped. Picture: Supplied

“In a week, we see more than 20 to 30 cars. You wake in the morning with six new cars which have been stripped by these criminals who operate at night.”

Another community member who did not want to be identified said the community does not feel safe with criminals and carjacking syndicate operating freely without the intervention of the police.

“Our concern is that insurance companies and the police seem to know about this, yet nothing is being done. Car tracking and insurance companies are aware of this place because most of their cars are recovered in this area. Why are they not doing something to stop this, unless of course they are working hand in hand with these criminals. Honestly, it cannot be a year or six years this is happening and nothing is being done,” he said.

Selepe said his hope is now with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and his crime-fighting wardens.

“Remember as a community we are scared as we do not have guns to fight criminals. The criminals are comfortable because they know they have the police. Our faith now is with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and the deployment of wardens. We want him to deploy his wardens as well as cameras and drones to ensure that this space is monitored. Maybe the wardens when they are finished training they will help us resolve this crisis,” added Selepe.

Attempts to get comment from the police in Soweto and the City of Joburg were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

The Star

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