Hijacking Hotspots In Gauteng And What To Do In Cases Of An Emergency


May 7, 2024
Team Pineapple

Once considered the gem of South Africa and home to the City Of Gold — modern-day Gauteng is a far cry from its former glory. The province is known for being the economic hub of Mzansi, with heavy contributions in the financial, manufacturing, transport, technology, and telecommunications sectors. 

However, it has unfortunately become known as a place that attracts unsavoury behaviour.

A total of 11 626 hijackings were reported in Gauteng in 2022 alone – an average of about 32 daily! Which is 68% more than the next province (KwaZulu-Natal totalled 3 757 or 10.3 daily).

Stick around to find out which areas in Gauteng are most affected, which vehicles are highly targeted, the impact on insurance premiums, receive safety tips and a guide on what to do if you’re ever a hijacking victim.

It's not about promoting fear but fostering readiness.

By understanding where these hijacking hotspots are, you can arm yourself with awareness and turn a potentially vulnerable situation into one you can navigate with care.

Hijacking Hotspots in Gauteng

Although Gauteng saw a 12.4% decrease in carjackings from the previous year’s findings (the total number of carjackings reported in 2022 was 11,626), it still reigns supreme as South Africa’s worst-affected province. 

In August of 2023, police minister Bheki Cele released the quarterly crime statistics for the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year (April to June 2023), and Gauteng dominated the list of top ten hijacking hotspots.

Here is a list of hijacking hotspots in Gauteng:

  1. Olievenhoutbosch (Tshwane District).
  2. Protea (Johannesburg District).
  3. Moroka (Johannesburg District).
  4. Orange Farms (Sedibeng District).
  5. Midrand (Johannesburg District).
  6. Tembisa (Ekurhuleni District).
  7. Ivory Park (Ekurhuleni District).
  8. Pretoria West (Tshwane District).
  9. Akasia (Tshwane District).
  10. Jabulani (Johannesburg District).

In 2021, Tracker revealed that vehicles are most likely to be hijacked on Thursdays, followed by Tuesdays, and there’s also a higher likelihood of these crimes occurring between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. However, the percentage difference to other days remains marginal, meaning drivers should always remain vigilant.

High-Risk Vehicles

You don’t need to have your ear close to the ground or have connections in the carjacking community to know criminals target some vehicle brands and makes more than others.

Toyota (36%) is leading the pack as the number 1 pick among thieves; next is Volkswagen (14.1%), followed by Ford (10.4%).

Experts say these vehicles are relatively affordable, easy to resell, and have good resale value. Plus, they’re popular with motorists, making them more likely to be found on the road.

Fidelity ADT’s latest statistics have also identified the following models as high-risk and accounted for the following reported thefts:

  • VW Polo (8.6%)
  • Toyota Hilux (6.8%)
  • Ford ranger (4.9%)
  • Toyota Etios (4.8%)
  • Toyota Fortuner (4.6%)
  • Nissan NP200 (4.2%)

Toyota Prados and Toyota Landcruisers are also among the most popular models, but carjackers still prefer Hilux and Fortuner GD6 models.

The Link to Car Insurance

Insurance providers don’t determine your premiums at random; they assess risks (e.g. your age, vehicle types, where the vehicle is parked, etc.).

So, residing in or frequently driving through known hijacking hotspots means you might find your premiums skyrocketing. 

Increased risk equals increased premiums.

The higher the risk of something happening to your vehicle, the more likely an insurer might have to pay a claim on your behalf. 

Additionally, in areas infamous for vehicle hijackings, having third-party insurance might not be enough, as this policy only covers damages to another person’s car if you're at fault. 

Well, what about your own ride? 

Comprehensive insurance is the answer. In high-risk zones, investing in comprehensive coverage is a no-brainer. This insurance covers damages to your vehicle, theft, hijacking, and other non-collision-related incidents.

Comprehensive insurance ensures you won't be left car-less or with a massive financial burden, plus it provides peace of mind.

P.S. It’s important to note that some insurance providers have terms and conditions that specify the need for a tracking device to be installed in the vehicle. 

Without one, the likelihood of your claim being approved decreases, especially with a stolen vehicle.

Reducing Insurance Premiums

Moving out of a high-risk area to avoid paying out the nose for your monthly insurance premiums is easier said than done. So, what other ways can you reduce your premiums?

One of the most popular ways of reducing insurance premiums is by combining your car insurance with other policies, like home or life insurance. 

This could lead to you snagging a notable discount.

But wait, there's more!

Another avenue is choosing a higher excess. Although you'll have to pay more out-of-pocket should you make a claim, it can significantly drop your monthly premium payment.

Insurance providers might also weigh in on where you park your vehicle. Secure environments like a garage or behind a locked gate pose a lower risk than leaving your car on the street, potentially lowering premiums.

If all else fails, it might be time for an address change.

Tips for Avoiding Hijacking

Before knowing what to do, you must understand what you’re up against. Let’s step into the mind of a carjacker and find out what motivates people in our society to commit such heinous acts.

It’s no secret that South Africa’s dismal employment rate has disastrously affected the nation. One of the biggest and nastiest consequences is a rise in crime.

Whoever said “crime doesn’t pay” must not have heard of the car-stealing industry.

Vehicle hijacking is an organised business run according to business principles and based on thorough planning. This guarantees easy money as well-established syndicates purchase these vehicles from the hijacker.

With that said, here are a few tips to help you dodge potential threats:

  1. Develop Smart Driving Habits: Always keep a fair distance between you and the car in front when stopping, as this provides you with a quick exit route if needed. If you suspect you're being followed, make a few random turns or head to the nearest police station.

You also have the option of turning into a petrol station.

Garages are typically well-lit areas with CCTV cameras, and usually, people are around, which can deter potential threats. Plus, they’re familiar and safe spaces where you can seek help.

  1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled: Knowing your surroundings can't be stressful enough. Continuously scan the environment, especially at intersections or traffic lights. Ditch the phone and other distractions; every second counts.

  1. Intuition Knows Best: If you feel uneasy about a situation—like someone watching you intently or a vehicle lingering nearby for too long—trust that instinct and act accordingly.

  1. Approaching Your Car: Always approach your car with your keys ready but not visible. Do a quick scan inside and underneath your vehicle before getting in. If you use a remote to unlock your car, only unlock the driver's door to prevent unwanted passengers from hopping in unexpectedly.

  1. Approaching A Robot: A popular and ongoing myth is that you’re legally allowed to skip a red robot at night or during the early morning hours. Richard Coleman, a spokesperson for the City of Cape Town Traffic Department, had this to say, ”It is in no way legal to skip a red traffic light under any circumstance unless the lights are flashing or are all out due to malfunction in which case it needs to be treated as a four-way stop.”

A bonus tip would be to be careful when using navigation apps. 

Navigation tools and technology have come a long way, but they’re still known to get things wrong occasionally. 

For example, a navigator’s main purpose is to direct you to your destination in the least amount of time. However, some short cuts may take you through crime-riddled, hijacking hotspot areas, thereby risking your safety.

Making Your Car Safer

Your best bet to ensure your vehicle’s safety is by installing tracking and immobilising systems. Although these gadgets won’t undo the horror of having your car stolen, they can help law enforcement recover it if it gets snatched. 

Who knows? They might even deter some would-be criminals in the first place.

Tinted windows also make it harder for prying eyes to suss out the scene inside your vehicle. However, while considering tints, ensure you’re within the legal limits for visibility.

Speaking of windows, PG Glass offers a smash-and-grab window film by Llumar, “specifically designed to offer additional protective barriers between the vehicle occupants and external elements, human or otherwise.”

Gear locks are another method that acts as a significant deterrent. 

They make it difficult for thieves to drive away, even if they break in. And then, there's the steering lock, which serves the same purpose.

It has become increasingly difficult to steal motor vehicles with all the anti-theft devices, plus insurance companies love these measures as much as you do.

A safer car often results in more favourable premiums. 

What To Do In Cases Of An Emergency

Here's a quick guide on navigating any hijacking situation:

During a Hijacking:

  • Stay calm and avoid making sudden moves or challenging the hijacker.

  • Comply quickly by handing over the keys or whatever they ask for. (A car is replaceable, but your life isn't!)

  • Try your best to mentally note the hijacker's appearance, voice, or other identifying traits without staring.

  • When instructed, get out slowly, moving deliberately and keeping your hands visible.


  • Once they've left, distance yourself from the scene and find the nearest safe spot.

  • Contact the SAPS (South African Police Service 08600 10111) ASAP and give them all the details you can remember. Alternatively, visit the police station closest to where the incident happened. 

  • Next, call your insurer and report the hijacking. They'll guide you through the claims process and what steps to take.

  • Emotional trauma after a hijacking is expected, so consider counselling or joining a support group to process your emotions.

You can also phone 112 on any cellular network if you require other emergency numbers.

Key Takeaways:

Although hijacking is on a downward trend annually, one should always stay vigilant. 

Taking proactive measures ensures the safety of your vehicle, safeguards your life and protects your loved ones. A blend of adopting intelligent driving habits, bolstering your car's security, and ensuring you've got the right insurance cover is all it takes to defend yourself against the unthinkable. 

Stay safe and stay insured, get a quote now!

Pineapple (FSP 48650), is underwritten by Old Mutual Insure, a licensed FSP and non-life insurer. T&C’s apply. Premium is risk profile dependent.

Please Note: The information provided above is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as legal or financial advice.

Team Pineapple

Team Pineapple comprises our company’s top talents, who are dedicated to creating clear, high-quality content on essential vehicle insurance topics. This diverse group, including actuaries, accountants, data scientists, and insurance professionals across South Africa, collaborates to produce enlightening and empowering articles.

Each piece is thoroughly researched, factually accurate, and rigorously reviewed to ensure quality.

*We say they’re the finest because we want them to keep writing for us!

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Please Note: The information provided above is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as legal or financial advice.

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