The Department of Home Affairs and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) plan to ramp up their capabilities in the coming months to stop hijacked vehicles from crossing the border into the rest of Africa.
Answering in a recent parliamentary Q&A, Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the government has identified modus operandi and the escape routes of the car hijacking syndicates.
“Working with members of the South African Police Services (SAPS), the SANDF has put measures in place, to prevent either hijacked and/or stolen cars from crossing our borders,” he said.
“They mostly include our eastern border between Kwazulu-Natal and Mozambique and the northern border between Limpopo and Zimbabwe. As a result, the military officers are statically deployed for 24 hours in those identified areas in order to intercept and thwart the activities of the syndicates,” he said.
Motsoaledi added that the Border Management Authority, which currently falls under the ambit of the Department of Home Affairs, has issued a public advertisement to recruit 200 ‘patriotic border guards’ who will be deployed in these vulnerable segments of the borderline to augment the work of the SANDF officers.
“In this regard, the Border Guards will be statically deployed for 24 hours in the identified vulnerable segments and this would allow members of the SANDF to freely apply their high mobility deployment strategy for countering any illegal syndicated activities, including the undue expatriation of our stolen vehicles.
“In addition, the Border Management Authority has started engagements with our immediate neighbours through the Joint Technical Committees to devise strategies to jointly address these inter-jurisdictional crimes.”
South Africa’s crime statistics for Q3 2021/2022 show hijackings across the country have increased steadily in recent years.
The data, which was presented by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to parliament on 18 February, covers the period between October and December 2021.
A total of 5,455 hijackings were reported across the country over the period – a 13.8% increase from the 4,794 hijackings reported over the same period the previous year.
As with the country’s other major crimes statistics, the majority of the cases were reported in the most populous areas. Most carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (2,824), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (845) and the Western Cape (692).