November 21 2013 at 11:27am By Kristen van Schie
Johannesburg - It took 48 seconds for a group of hijackers to make off with a vehicle on a Jeppestown, Joburg, corner at the weekend.
“As a city, we are acutely aware of the daily possibilities of various types of crime that face our residents, businesses, motorists and pedestrians,” safety MMC Sello Lemao said at a press conference on Wednesday, which was also attended by Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, of the Joburg metro police department.
“I want to assure everyone that our law enforcement is in charge of this city and not the criminals.”
Lemao said he was “greatly disturbed” by Saturday’s brash hijacking and said it was “worrying” that criminals were walking around with automatic weapons.
But he also expressed concern that the video was put online and went viral instead of law enforcement officials being notified.
The hijacking fell just outside the city’s network of 240 CCTV cameras - which cover the CBD and parts of Crown Mines, Fordsburg, Doornfontein, Hillbrow and Berea - and the video was instead recorded by a private security company.
As such, Lemao said the city was looking at a number of measures to make Joburg safer during the festive season, including more cops at known hotspots and getting businesses to link their private cameras with the city’s CCTV control room, expanding the range of the network.
Jeppe police station commander Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said that despite the reported incident in his precinct, hijacking was not on the increase in the area.
“There used to be quite a lot, but in recent months they’ve come down,” he said.
But both Mariemuthoo and Lemao stressed that drivers needed to be vigilant of their surroundings, as hijackings were not always about the car but stealing the valuables in it.
And they reminded drivers that most hijackings happened in suburban driveways.
“Don’t carry large sums of money around in the festive season - you will become a target,” Mariemuthoo warned.