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2022/06/13      |  Written By:  Captain T Litabe   |   Province:  Northern Cape

Vehicle crimes in South Africa are reported to cost the fiscus about R8.5 billion annually with crimes such as vehicle theft, hijacking, robbery and tampering being reported daily at the police stations.

These are the types of crimes that require, highly specialised skills and within the South African Police Service, there is one unit known as Vehicle Crime Identification Unit that was established to deal specifically with most of vehicle crime cases.  For them to succeed in this fight, the unit works with various stakeholders that are in and outside of the police service, including the 13 countries falling under the Southern African Development Community (SADC), that are also affiliated to Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (SARPCCO).

According to Mr Hugo van Zyl who is South African Insurance Crime Bureau’s (SAICB) Chief Executive Officer, the majority of vehicles (30%) that are stolen in South Africa, are taken across the borders into the neighbouring countries where crime syndicates are making a huge profit.  Unlike in other countries, where most of the vehicles are merely stolen for a joyride, a significant number of cars that are stolen in our country are stolen based on an order.

Hugo also explains further that about R3.1 billion worth of the vehicles that are stolen in our country are cloned, leaving the total of about R516 million that end up being chopped into pieces and sold as parts.  

The unit’s work is not only about stolen cars though, they also help with vehicle clearance and the provision of the South African Police Vehicle Identification Numbers(SAPVIN).  A vehicle clearance will be required in various cases such as at a time when a person wants to; register or de-register a vehicle, transfer ownership, acquire a vehicle from outside the borders of SA, register a vehicle that has been built from parts or where there are vehicles with duplicate chasis numbers and other scenarios.

A vehicle SAPVIN will also be required in terms of the law under the following circumstances that include;
* if a vehicle has no chasis and/ or engine number(s)
* if the chasis number of a motor vehicle is a duplicate of the chasis number of another motor vehicle
* if the engine or chasis number of the vehicle has been tampered with
* after the vehicle was investigated by SAPS VCI unit

In the Northern Cape, there are four VCI units and 33 members across all the units.  They are found in Kimberley, Springbok, Upington and De Aar.  Kimberley VCIU is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mathew Boer and he can be reached on 082 495 4921 while Springbok VCIU is falling under Captain Harold Magirman who can be reached on 082 495 4715.  In Upington, Lt Col Mathys Meyer is the commanding officer and his contact number is 082 575 3037.  Captain Salomie Coetzee, is the commanding officer in De Aar and he can be reached on 063 691 0851.

All these units are reporting directly to Colonel Clayton du Plooy who is the Provincial Commander of VCIU’s in the Northern Cape.

There is a lot of members that want to be transferred to this unit but most of them do not meet the requirements.  To be considered for transfer to these units, members must have undergone the Resolving of Crime (ROC) course with at least, a minimum of two years of experience in the field of investigation.  Having an experience of CAS and Circulation systems will also count in their favour.

We are indeed grateful for the work that the units do as the Northern Cape is one of the provinces in the country where vehicle crime is at the lowest.


Colonel Du Plooy with some of the people that are wording under his command. FLTR: AC Noel Lenyora, Lt Col Connie Janzen-van Niewenhuizen, Colonel Clayton du Plooy and Captain Harold Magirman and SAC Carin Stemmet from Springbok VCIU.