Hijacking Hotspots In The Cape


May 7, 2024
Team Pineapple

The Western Cape is home to the Garden Route, contains some of the finest vineyards in the world and has a major hijacking problem. 

After Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape rounds up the top 3 of most hijackings in South Africa. Despite a decrease (6.4%) in hijackings year-on-year nationwide, some provinces still experienced an 8.9% spike (from 1 742 in April to 1 898 in June), with month-on-month data revealing an upward trend in the number of carjackings. 

Unfortunately, hijacking hotspots are everywhere in our country – not just the ‘bad areas’. 

Criminals are more brazen, even targeting vehicles in busy areas, such as shopping malls and traffic lights.

As we navigate through the layers of this crisis, we’ll uncover the gravity of the situation and shed light on preventative measures and potential solutions. Knowledge is power, and as the Cape's hijacking crisis underscores, awareness is the first step in the fight against it.

Hotspots and Danger Zones

Crime statistics for the first quarter of 2023/24 (1 April to 30 June 2023) revealed that 5,488 cars were hijacked – around 60 cars daily!

While carjacking incidents in the Western Cape showed a slight decline of 0.7%, the province still managed to come in third place with a total of 749 hijackings (13,6% of all carjackings), after Gauteng with 2 735 incidents (49.8%) and KZN with 835, respectively (15,2%). 

The following places have been singled out as the Cape’s hijacking hotspots:

  1. Harare – City of Cape Town District (100 reports, April 2023 to June 2023).
  2. Nyanga – City of Cape Town District (81 reports, April 2023 to June 2023).
  3. Philippi – East City of Cape Town District (78 reports, April 2023 to June 2023).
  4. Lingelethu-West – City of Cape Town District (51 reports, April 2023 to June 2023).
  5. Delft – City of Cape Town District (46 reports, April 2023 to June 2023).
  6. Samora Machel – City of Cape Town District (43 reports, April 2023 to June 2023).
  7. Khayelitsha – City of Cape Town District (39 reports, April 2023 to June 2023).

Common Hijacking Tactics

There’s precious little one can do against a hijacker; if the fear doesn’t cause you to freeze on the spot, the weapon they’re likely brandishing will.

However, not all hope is lost. 

Criminals typically use standard tactics, and by familiarising yourself with their modus operandi, you can be better prepared and more vigilant. 

Here are some of the most commonly observed tactics:

  1. The 'Follow Home' Plot: Hijackers follow you home from a public space, such as a shopping mall or petrol station, then strike as you wait for the gate to open or just after parking. Criminals are also known to creep up from behind while you’re stopped at a robot, sometimes armed with a brick.

  1. The ‘Good Samaritan’ Tactic: Perpetrators will hit you with the, “Excuse me, something’s wrong with your tyre”, and when you pull over to inspect the damage, they attack.

  1. The 'Blue Light' Ploy: Impersonating law enforcement officials, these hijackers use vehicles with blue lights and sirens to pull over motorists. This tactic is particularly effective during the night or on quiet roads.

  1. The ‘Multiple Perpetrators’ Method: Hijacking incidents often involve more than one perpetrator. While one might approach the driver's side of the vehicle to distract or engage you, another may come from the passenger side or rear to catch you off-guard. You can't reverse because there's a car behind you; you can't go forward because there's another in front of you.

  1. The ‘Forced Off the Road’ Strategy: In some instances, hijackers use vehicles to force a motorist off the road, especially in areas with less traffic.

Communication manager at CrisisOnCall, Ruan Vermaak, was quoted as saying: “A hijacking is usually a carefully planned and well-orchestrated event. Hijackers look for a specific target and plan their timing by following the target until the vehicle comes to a stop.”

Thus, awareness of these tactics is the first line of defence. 

It's crucial to remain vigilant, especially when travelling in unfamiliar areas or during odd hours. Avoiding distractions, locking all your doors, and keeping windows rolled up can also offer an added layer of protection.

Preventative Measures to Keep You Safe from Hijackers

As the Western Cape’s hijacking epidemic spirals out of control, adopting preventative measures and stringent safety protocols is more critical than ever. 

Let's take a deep dive into recommended practices to minimise the risk of falling victim to a hijacking:

  1. Awareness is Key: Experts cannot stress enough the importance of being hyper-aware of one's surroundings. Always scan the environment, especially when coming to a stop or parking. A split-second glance can make a world of difference.

  1. Locked Doors and Closed Windows: Keep car doors locked and windows closed, especially when driving slowly or stationary. A small gap in a window can be an invitation for a hijacker to force entry.

  1. Safe Stopping Distance: When stopping behind another vehicle, ensure you can see its rear wheels. This usually gives you enough room to manoeuvre and escape if a potential threat approaches.

  1. Limit Distractions: Avoid using your cell phone or other distractions that might divert your attention from your surroundings, especially when stationary at traffic lights or intersections. 

  1. Night Driving: Limit driving at night, especially in unfamiliar or high-risk areas. If you must drive after dark, stick to well-lit, busy roads.

  1. Smash and Grab-proof 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.”

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.

Therefore, integrating these preventative measures and safety protocols into our daily routines can empower us against potential threats and ensure safer journeys on the road.

What to Do If You're Hijacked

Few things are as traumatic as being involved in a hijacking, but knowing what actions to take during the ordeal can increase your chances of staying safe.

First things first, stay calm.

While it may be difficult, given the current situation, try to remain as calm as possible. Hijackers are also nervous, and a calm demeanour might prevent the situation from escalating. 

Next, it’s better to comply with all their demands. Give them what they want—keys, wallet, phone—and do it slowly, ensuring they know you're not a threat.

Another way to let them know you mean no harm is by averting your gaze.

A hijacker could perceive direct eye contact as a threat. Still, try your best to remember distinguishing features, tattoos, scars, or even the sound of their voice, as this can help the police later.

Once safe, call the SAPS (South African Police Service) on 08600 10111

SAPS will arrive on the scene and dispatch medical services if needed. You can phone 112 on any cellular network if you require any other emergency numbers.

How Comprehensive Cover Can Heal Your Hijacking Woes

Prevention is and will always be better than cure. However, the harsh reality remains that even the most cautious individuals can face the hijacking ordeal. 

Hijacking is undeniably one of the most harrowing experiences one can endure. Beyond the immediate trauma and potential physical harm, you’re also left grappling with losing personal property and the daunting task of replacing or repairing your vehicles. 

This is where having a robust car insurance policy becomes an invaluable ally.

With a reliable insurance policy in place, the road to recovery—both emotionally and financially—becomes far less daunting.

The primary advantage of car insurance is its provision for financial compensation. A comprehensive policy typically covers the cost of repairing or replacing a hijacked vehicle. 

Without insurance, you might shoulder these expenses, which can run into tens of thousands of Rands.

In the aftermath of a hijacking, you’ll likely find yourself without a car. 

Luckily, most insurance providers offer coverage for rental cars, ensuring you aren't stranded during this stressful time. 

Some insurers even go above and beyond by offering special discounts and incentives for policyholders who take extra precautions against hijacking.

Investing in anti-hijacking measures like advanced security systems, tinted windows, and vehicle tracking allows you to enjoy reduced premiums. Additionally, investing in a vehicle tracking system can help recover a stolen vehicle, and some trackers even offer emergency response services at the push of a button.

Lastly, not even an insurance policy crafted by the gods can negate the trauma of a hijack, but having a solid insurance policy in place provides a tangible safety net, offers a bit of ease and supports you through this harrowing time.

Insurance offers reassurance that, amidst the chaos, some aspects, like financial recovery and access to immediate support, are taken care of.

However, 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.


The harrowing rise in hijackings across the Cape is a stark reminder that one wouldn’t set sail without a life jacket, so one shouldn’t take to the roads without the assurance of comprehensive insurance.

Amidst the swirl of statistics and safety protocols, the importance of a robust insurance policy stands out as a beacon of stability. 

Speaking of comprehensive coverage that’s designed to make your life easier…

Pineapple’s comprehensive cover emerges as a forerunner in the realm of car insurance. 

We provide coverage against theft and understand the holistic needs of a person facing the aftermath of a hijack. With provisions for car hire to keep you on the move and emergency accommodation to ensure you and your loved ones have a safe haven in times of distress, Pineapple goes the extra mile in cushioning the blow.

Don't wait for the unforeseen to upend your peace of mind; get an obligation-free car insurance quote, activate your policy and embrace the protection you deserve.

Our policy is instant, affordable, beyond comprehensive and offers impeccable hijacking support.

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

Pineapple (FSP 48650) is underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer Insure Limited, a licensed Non-Life Insurer and authorised FSP. T&Cs apply.

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.

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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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