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'We were hijacked and taken hostage'

2017-02-22 09:15

COMMON OCCURRENCE IN SA: Hijacking and vehicle theft are a sad reality of SA's roads. Image: iStock

Theo Mbadaliga

Local motorist, Theo Mbadaliga has been the victim of a recent hijacking. He shares his thoughts on the experience and his disappointment in the South African Police Service. 

Cape Town - As I'm writing this, it's now been more than 2 weeks (15 days) since we were hijacked. We were hijacked and taken hostage for almost two hours until the car was dropped off at what we believe to be the buyer.

There were armed men with us in the vehicle and they also took my friend's bank card and withdrew cash as well as attempted to swipe and use tap & go after the card was successfully blocked.

Disappointed in SAPS

My reason for writing this is my extreme disappointment in the South African Police Service (SAPS). Until today, I have no clue who the investigating officer in charge of my case. I have not been contacted by anyone in the SAPS so clearly there is no investigation going on here, I even sent a formal complaint to their complaints email exactly a week ago after being advised by them (on their Facebook page) to do so, and to my surprise I didn't receive any response there.


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Why do we bother opening cases when nothing is done to bring criminals to justice? Simply as a procedure for insurance claims? Clearly that seems to be the case as one the people at the insurance company we dealt with says this is all but too common, an officer is assigned to the case, he/she receives the docket and that's basically where it ends whether the vehicle was recovered or not, said the insurance guy.

This is heartbreaking to say the least, coming from a victim of such a crime as one wonders "how many more vehicles have those same people hijacked since they hijacked us? How many people have they harmed and possibly killed with those weapons since they hijacked us?"

How can the goal of the SAPS be to bring down crime when they're not taking the necessary measures to put criminals behind bars?

I imagine that the guys who hijacked us appeared on CCTV camera or an ATM camera while using the bank card, but those videos might not be available now as so much time has lapsed, but the investigating officer wouldn't know that of course, he doesn't even know who the victims are.

What motive do such criminals have to stop doing what they do when it's so easy to get away with it?

Clearly their "homeboys" also find reason to get in this business of grand theft auto as they know that police just don't care!

I hope this letter does not land on deaf ears.

A hijacking in Durban captured via CCTV:

14 tips to help avoid a hijacking:

1 When approaching your vehicle, keep your key ready but not visible. Unlock your car when you're close by.   
2 Check the rear seat before getting into your car.
3 A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable.
4 Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.
5 Always check the rear-view mirror to see if you are being followed. 
6 Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked. Put all valuables out of sight. 
7 Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cellphone.
8 If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.
9 When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.
10 Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear of shrubbery. 
11 If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty. 
12 When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.
13 Change your routes and your schedule if possible on a regular basis. 
14 Make arriving at your destination safer by calling ahead and asking someone to open and close your gate for you.


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