The police in Mpumalanga are warning the public to be extra vigilant of hijackers targeting drivers who often park their vehicles along the roadside.
Mpumalanga police Spokesperson Leonard Hlathi said the warning spirals from hijacking incidents that have occurred previously as well as recent ones, yesterday to be precise, at Vosman and Kabokweni respectively where victims were hijacked of their vehicles by armed men.
“The Kabokweni incident involves a 32 year old man who was driving his white Ford Ranger, stopped his car to respond to the call of nature but left the engine still idling. Few moments later, an unknown white Volkswagen Golf abruptly stopped next to his car, where the occupants held him at gunpoint and was forced into the boot of the suspects’ car” said Hlathi
He added that the other suspect drove off with the victim’s bakkie and he was later left stranded at an unknown place. The victim however, managed though to maneuver his way to the police station where he reported the ordeal.
“Police in partnership with a tracking company immediately commissioned an investigation into this matter and recovered the vehicle at Kanyamazane policing precinct today, however, the suspects were found to have absconded” hr said
He also said on the same day, at Vosman near Witbank, a 43 year old man was robbed by an unknown number of suspects while driving in a white Toyota Club Cab company vehicle on the Clewer road at about 15h00. The victim explained that the robbery happened when he was making a call with his vehicle parked on the side of the road. He surprisingly saw a GWM bakkie which stopped right behind his vehicle and at that time, he was not so much suspicious of anything as he thought the occupants wanted to enquire about something from him.
Two men alighted from the GWM and approached his vehicle where suddenly one man pointed him with a firearm, then violently instructed him to drive to a direction they gave him. The trip ended at an old building where there was an additional six people where the victim was searched as well as assaulted. They then took his bank cards, personal belongings and also forced him to give them the pin codes to his bank cards blindfolded with a blanket. The victim further mentioned that he was left behind guarded by two suspects whilst the others went to help themselves with his money.
The other incident also took place around Vosman policing precinct at which a 57 year old man was hijacked of his car too. The victim narrated his plight at the police that he was driving his maroon Volkswagen Golf 3 at about 15h30, when he suddenly noticed a green VW Polo driving behind him, he thought that the driver wanted to pass and he (the complainant) moved over to the side of the road giving a right of way to the Polo but the driver of the Polo followed him. The victim said he tried to drive faster but his efforts to outdrive the Polo failed as he was blocked by the suspects. Two males alighted from the Polo, got into his vehicle, instructed him to drive to the given direction. The victim indicated that they(suspects) stopped at an old building at KaMgewane, tied him with a rope as well and he noticed that there was another person who was also suffering the same plight. The suspects searched him, took his bank cards and personal belongings as well then left.
When the dust settled, the first victim managed to untie himself as well as the latter and they both went to seek for help. The victims landed at Vosman Police Station where they separately opened cases of hijacking and robbery at which the police immediately commenced with their investigations. It emerged through investigation that the VW Golf was spotted somewhere in the Clewer area where it was left abandoned next to the road.
Judging on the prevalence of these patterns, the Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma saw it necessary to warn the community to be extra vigilant when driving and not to stop at any unsafe places. “I urge members of the public to take extra precautionary measures and be vigilant especially when driving their vehicles to avoid stopping willy-nilly at awkward places. Drivers should take break intervals at places where it is safe to do so, such as fuel stations and busy places like at the shopping malls/complexes where it can be much safer to attend to phone calls and other issues as you might not know who may be following you. Criminals like to operate in secluded areas where it is easy for them to pounce on their prey, therefore motorists should not expose themselves to the claws of criminals but be vigilant at all times,” said General Zuma.
Anyone who may have information that may lead to the arrest of the villains, is urged to contact Colonel One Thobejane at 0823722195 for the Vosman cases. For the hijacking case at Kabokweni, Captain Shaka Nkosi can be contacted on 071 200 1669. Members of the public can also call the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111 or by giving a tip-off on the MYSAPSAPP that can be downloaded to any smartphone. Information can be given anonymously.