Hi readers, it’s me – Stryker the cat – interrupting your regular reading schedule with breaking news that you read here first.
Hijackings are frighteningly commonplace in South Africa. We have all known for a long time that crime syndicates target vehicles that they usually intend for export to surrounding countries. Recently, the hijacking scourge has taken on a new dimension, however, as vehicles carrying varying payloads of tires have been targeted specifically for their cargo.
Vulnerabilities in the Tire Industry
Tire World Exports, as well as many of our suppliers and colleagues in the industry, have felt the impact of this disturbing trend directly. It is currently uncertain who is behind the incidents and what they do with the tires they steal, but it is probable that syndicates have established an illegal black market for the export of tires to surrounding countries, paralleling the trade in stolen cars. However, the market could be right here within South Africa’s borders too – this is currently unknown.
Members of the syndicates approach key people in tire distributors’ logistics departments and, using either force or bribery, gain information regarding delivery routes, times and dates.
There doesn’t appear to be a demand for any specific brand, size or type – any and all tires are fair game. Fully loaded vehicles, ranging from bakkies carrying 20 tires, to heavy delivery trucks transporting hundreds, have all been targeted.
There does seem to be a pattern to the robberies in terms of location, with the majority of the incidents taking place on the East Rand, particularly in Edenvale and Kempton Park. The criminals are well organised and seemingly fearless. One fleet manager is quoted in SA Treads magazine, saying that one of his trucks was taken in broad daylight in a busy street near a major shopping centre.
In several cases, the vehicles have been recovered after being completely emptied of their loads. Police have not yet made any progress towards rooting out the masterminds behind the crimes. Thankfully no lives have yet been lost, although several drivers have been traumatised by the incidents. It is costing the industry a substantial amount in stock and increased security measures.
Our best defence at the moment is prevention, as far as is possible, through sending drivers on anti-hijacking courses, installing and upgrading tracking systems in vehicles, as well as fitting panic buttons and door sensors. Loading fixed routes onto tracking maps, that will immediately show when a vehicle deviates from the preset route, could be an effective aid to quick vehicle recovery.
Business needs to continue of course, so we urge all our friends in the industry to be alert to this new trend and do what they can to protect their vehicles and drivers. Where possible, we should also work together to combat the illegal trade that the hijackings are feeding.
Well that’s it from me, Stryker the cat, for this week. Stay safe, dear readers!
Tire World Exports are Africa’s Tire Trade Leaders
Tire World Exports is an important part of that export trade. We ship thousands of high-quality, locally produced tires to users in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and other countries in the SADC region and beyond. Contact us for more information.
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