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Lentswe, Klerksdorp - The N12 between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom is also a hotspot in the recent vehicle spiking incidents. According to the Motor Industry Staff Association these incidents are born out of desperation and the dire social economic state amongst the 11,7 million unemployed South Africans. “This is not organised crime syndicates or sophisticated crimes, but rather a situation of desperate people realising motorists at night are isolated soft targets.  

“If you manage to get the vehicle to a standstill, you can attack fast and disappear into the night. There is not much more than jewellery, cash and cell phones to rob. The concern is that there is a black market where these items can be sold,” says Dr Johan Burger, a senior researcher and policing expert.

 Martlé Keyter, Chief Executive Officer of MISA, the Motor Industry Staff Association, asked Burger for advice because vehicle spiking incidents are reported almost every night on road safety WhatsApp Groups in Gauteng. Despite hotspot lists being circulated, incidents are rising.

 “MISA’s members and staff often have no alternative but to drive on these roads at night, with incidents becoming more violent. MISA does not see law enforcement authorities taking action to combat these incidents.

“It has been six months after Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga was robbed and her bodyguards stripped of their guns, while travelling on the N3 near Heidelberg. To date no arrests have been made,” says Keyter. 

 This is a big concern for the Union representing more than 64 000 members in the retail motor industry. 

 Burger explains that crime is much more complex than what it seems. It is clear with the spike in incidents, that law enforcement authorities are aware of the hot spots, but does not have the manpower to increase visibility and frequency in patrolling these areas.

 “The fastest way to combat crime is with visible policing. 

“The police is aware of the modus operandi. As soon as it becomes known that arrests have been made, it will be a deterrent, but this is not happening,” says Burger.

 According to him another solution is to address the economic factors contributing to crime is to create more jobs. South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in the world.

 “People are desperate to survive so they rob to eat. This is not a type of crime where communities can be called on to point out suspects because it is not organised,” says Burger.