How safe are truck drivers when they are out on our roads? One would generally assume that they are the least affected by all the road rage, highway crimes, and hijackings seeing as they drive such big vehicles. However, there seems to be a frightening increase in truck hijackings throughout the years. What could be the cause or reason for this?
Recent reports of two recent truck hijackings, both which occurred in the Bedfordview area have sparked debate. During the investigation of the attempted hijacking, the Bedfordview SAPS reported that the hijackers had hooted at the truck driver and told him his truck had a flat tyre. When the truck driver stopped to check his wheel, four armed men exited from the car, one jumped into the truck to drive it, while the others forced the driver into their vehicle. Fortunately, the driver was ditched in Eldorado Park alive, but these men managed to get away with goods worth thousands of Rands.
While some truck drivers may be stopped by hijackers dressed and pretending to be police officials, it seems a growing trend is that policemen are becoming involved in these crime rings. More recent reports have been found where off duty police officials have been actual accomplices in these truck hijacking crimes.
As infamous as these crimes have become, you have to admit it must be hard to hide a truck (horse and trailer) including its contents (probably worth over hundreds of thousands), especially for an ordinary “Joe” or first timer just trying to make a quick buck. So how exactly are these guys getting away with it? What piece of the puzzle are we missing? If you hijack a truck, how far can you get without authorities catching on?
Not all hope in our police officials has been lost though. According to a recent report in August 2014 by News24, six people had been arrested in North West when they tried hijacking a truck by pretending to be metro police officers. The scary part is, these people had actually approached a metro cop in that area and asked him to assist them in hijacking the truck. Luckily the Sergeant reported the matter immediately to the SA Police Service and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, and the men were apprehended. The accused were later found in possession of metro police uniforms and a tracker jammer.
Truck hijacking has become a major concern for the South African economy. The South African Chamber of Commerce has raised its concern about the 14.9% increase in crime rates this year. Meanwhile, trucking experts seem to think that truck hijackings are organised by sophisticated cross-border gangs. They believe that part of the problem is South Africa’s permeable borders, high levels of corruption in the police force, and in some cases poor screening within companies. Trucks stolen in SA are often used in mining operations in other countries. It is not just stolen trucks that are posing a problem, but the stolen goods too. When a truck is hijacked, the goods are taken too, and when they are not delivered to the companies, it affects the balance of business in a major way and can also be highly damaging to the economy.
The more you read up on these truck hijackings, the more you realise that it is not actually about the trucks but the goods that they are carrying. A truck could be transporting anything from fuel, food stuff and cigarettes – which will be relatively easy to sell.
All these crimes are affecting us negatively. It creates a negative view of our country, and poses a major threat to our economy and truckers. What can we do? One suggestion is for truck and company owners to thoroughly screen employees and to educated them about road safety and making unnecessary stops at unknown or dangerous areas. What other suggestions do you have? Tell us on the blog, on Facebook, or on LinkedIn.