New crime data published this month by the South African Police Service (SAPS) shows a total of 1,202 truck hijackings in 12 months, a 1.6% increase over the corresponding period a year earlier.

Information released for the 12 months ended 31 March 2018 once again highlighted the level of risk facing transport operators in Gauteng province, where the 708 truck hijackings represented a 6% year-on-year increase and 58.9% of all such incidents across the whole of the country. Higher incident rates were also recorded in Western Cape – up 108.6% to 121 – Eastern Cape and Limpopo. More encouragingly, there were double-digit declines in the numbers of hijackings in the provinces of Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Free State.

One of the big growth areas for crime in this reporting period was the 56.6% rise in the number of hijackings of cash-in-transit (CIT) vehicles, which climbed to 238 over the 12 months, according to SAPS’ data. This was also one of the topics discussed at TAPA EMEA’s latest Regional Conference in South Africa in a presentation by the highly-respected journalist, Anneliese Burgess. She highlighted the characteristics of offenders engaged in such thefts, stating:

·        Offenders graduate to CIT crime after long criminal careers 

·        Attacks are extremely well-planned and organised

·        Money is invested to insource the necessary skills, from procuring cars and guns to the right drivers and ‘experienced gun slingers’

·        CIT criminals spend a lot of time on surveillance and are prepared to use maximum violence

·        Company employees are groomed and ‘recruited’, as are police officers

The 100-plus conference delegates, primarily representing Logistics Service Providers, Manufacturers and Security Service Providers, heard that the risk of imprisonment is no deterrent with most offenders returning to crime after incarceration. Research reveals that thieves involved in such crimes see themselves as professionals, are proud of their skills and operate in groups which have a ‘democratic structure’. In most cases, the money stolen is never recovered.

While emphasising that CIT criminals prefer to undertake heists involving no fatalities, the presentation concluded that the groups involved do not fear the criminal justice system and that, for offenders, being out on bail is no deterrent to them being involved in more attacks.

TAPA EMEA’s latest regional conference in South Africa included a series of presentations by expert speakers, addressing the central theme of ‘The ever-changing dynamics of risk management’. Topics included:

·        The value of systems to ensure business success and continuity

·        Crime is at an all-time high in South Africa despite the wide use of advanced security technology – what is missing?

·        The value of intelligence-driven risk management

·        A case study on a truck hijacking, highlighting the M.O. used by criminals and the awareness companies need to mitigate the risks involved.

The audience also heard an introduction to TAPA EMEA by Executive Director, Laurence Brown, as well as a presentation on TAPA’S FSR, TSR and PSR Security Standards by Paul Linders, TAPA EMEA Board Member and Chair of the Association’s World Wide Change Control Board.

One of the overriding messages delivered to delegates was the need for more cargo crime intelligence reporting to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) to help companies manage known supply chain risks in South Africa more effectively. Laurence Brown pointed out that of the 3,565 freight crimes reported to TAPA in 2017 and Q1 2018, only 73 or 2% came from South Africa.

If you see a report of a cargo crime in South Africa, please send the data or news link to iis@(*** please remove ***)


Last 5 years                      

Period   Incidents             

2013-14               991       

2014-15               1,279    

2015-16               1,184    

2016-17               1,183    

2017-18               1,202    

Change in last 12 months: +1.6%              

Source: South African Police Service        


12 months ended 31 March 2018            

Province              Incidents              % change year-on-year

Gauteng                 708                                    6%

Mpumalanga           121                                  -32%

Western Cape         121                                 108.60%

Eastern Cape            92                                   12.20%

KwaZulu-Natal          52                                   -35.80%

North West                41                                   -14.60%

Free State                 32                                    -22%

Limpopo                    32                                    18.50%

Northern Cape            3                                   No change