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MOTORISTS URGED TO BE VIGILANT ABOUT CAR HIJACKINGS: POTCHEFSTROOM
2020/11/26      |  Written By:  Colonel A Myburgh   |   Province:  North West

Potchefstroom:  Motorists travelling in the North West, especially in the Bojanala Platinum district are urged to exercise caution when stopping next to the road or when ordered to stop by other motorists as they could be potential hijackers.

This is after a few incidents in which vehicles were recently hijacked by unknown suspects, were reported.   

On Monday, 16 November 2020, at about 21:15 in Tlhabane, a 40-year-old victim allegedly stopped to pick up a person in Mokgethi Street. He parked in front of a gate and climbed out of the vehicle. He was allegedly pointed with a firearm and instructed to get back inside his Blue VW Polo. He managed to escape by running away and two suspects drove off with his Polo.

In an unrelated incident on Wednesday, 18 November 2020, a 44-year-old victim was allegedly travelling on the N4 road at about 09:20 close to Swartruggens in a Nissan NP 200 bakkie. A Hyundai i20 vehicle approached him from behind. As a result, he allegedly drove into the yellow lane to allow the Hyundai to overtake. However, it is alleged that one of the occupants of the Hyundai pointed him with a firearm and instructed him to stop. Two males from the Hyundai got inside the bakkie and drove it to a nearby power station where he was robbed of boxes of cellular phones. The suspects then locked the victim inside the canopy of his Nissan bakkie before fleeing from the scene. The victim managed to break the rear window of his bakkie in order to escape and contacted the police on his cellular phone.

In another unrelated incident, on Sunday, 22 November 2020, a driver of a Toyota Verso, accompanied by his lady friend, picked up four hitch-hikers at Bothaville. He proceeded to drive to the Ysterspruit Road in Jouberton and just after midnight, a black VW Polo stopped in front of his vehicle. The four men in his vehicle (hitch-hikers) took out knives and threatened to stab him. He and his lady friend were tied up and robbed of cash and a cellular phone by the suspects who drove off with his vehicle.

Motorists are requested to exercise caution when stopped by unknown persons and to report such incidents to the nearest police station. If stopped by Police of Traffic officials and you feel unsafe / threatened, put on your hazard lights and slowly drive to the nearest police station.

Never ever offer a lift to a hitch-hiker and do not stop next to the road except for an emergency. People stopping to relieve themselves have also fallen victim of this crime.

As part of curbing such incidents, motorists are requested to take heed and apply the following safety hints:

·         A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable.

·         Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.

·         Always check the rear view mirror to see if you are being followed.

·         Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked and put all valuables out of sight.

·         Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cell phone.

·         If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.

·         When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green especially during the night.

·         If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty.

·         When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.

·         Avoid driving through unfamiliar areas.

·         Avoid driving late at night / early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.

·         Drive in the centre lane away from pedestrians where possible.

·         If possible, never drive alone.

·         Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.

·         If possible, avoid driving in the dark.

·         Hijackers may stage a minor accident, for e.g. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, indicate he / she must follow you and drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area for help.