Truck Hijackings: Transport and Asset Protection’s biggest challenge and the need for a tactical, strategic and holistic solution.

Truck hijackings increased by 56% between 2011 and 2014/2015[1]. The release of the latest crime statistics for 2015/2016 has indicated that truck hijackings have decreased by 7.4%, whilst aggravated robbery has increased by 5.23%. Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) attributes this decrease in truck hijackings to the establishment of a dedicated task team within the SAPS and more effective top leadership within the SAPS. Although there has been an overall decrease, some provinces such as KwaZulu Natal, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga have shown an increase in truck hijackings.


Car hijackings showed a significant increase across the country and is usually linked with organised crime. Organised criminals tend to “graduate” to higher end crimes such as truck hijackings after they have been successful in car hijackings for a while. Organised criminals are becoming more sophisticated and organised crime will continue to increase if control and consequences are ineffective. Furthermore, crime rates tend to increase during tough economic times and when poor social conditions prevail. Unemployment rates in South Africa are at its highest and South Africa currently rates 8th highest on the unemployment rating scale in the world. With tough economic times and poor social conditions there could be a significant increase in crime once again despite the SAPS’s best efforts, especially if corruption within the SAPS and Metro Police prevails.

Several industries across the supply chain have been affected negatively by truck hijackings and other related crimes, such as theft and armed robbery at warehouses and businesses.

It has been stated in various sources that insiders (employees) could be involved in as many as 70-80% of truck hijackings. During tough economic times it is much easier for criminals to bribe and entice employees to cooperate and engage in criminal activities either by being directly involved or by supplying the necessary information to criminals and crime syndicates.

Risk management costs are escalating substantially as more and more counter measures are being put in place with each new threat that arises. Relying on a reactive risk management approach is costing companies dearly. There seems to be challenges in managing the supply chain risks and without a coordinated, tactical approach crime syndicates will only strengthen and losses increase. What is needed is a Comprehensive Risk Management Approach that includes all three pillars of Risk Management: (1) People, (2) Processes and (3) Technology.


The following needs to be addressed at organisational level:

  • There is a strong need to pay more attention to staff selection.
  • Know your employee, vendor, contractor, sub-contractor, client and stakeholders.
  • Institute early warning systems, i.e. identifying areas or conditions that may be conducive to criminal activity. This includes incident reporting as well as recognising red flags that may indicate an “insider threat”.
  • Organisational culture should also be assessed to ensure that a culture conducive to criminal activities is not being created, but instead that a culture conducive to integrity, ethical behaviour, security conscious behaviour and effective risk management is created. Top down practicing of these behaviours should be practiced and communicated, where leaders display moral leadership at all times. Integrity training and other security awareness training should be considered.
  • Different departments (HR, Risk Management, Procurement, Logistics, Legal etc.) should communicate and collaborate effectively in order to share information that could be crucial in risk management. The necessary policies and procedures need to be in place to ensure that such communication and collaboration is done in an ethical, correct and fair manner.
  • The establishment of an internal (or outsourced) investigative department equipped with the best technology and having access to all databases and processes, ideally reporting directly to the departmental head.
  • More control and/or better information sharing along the supply chain is necessary to ensure that 3rd party vendors, contractors and sub-contractors are following best practices and complying to all risk mitigating procedures.
  • Implementation of whistleblowing hotlines where information can be submitted anonymously if necessary.
  • Exemplary behaviour and conducts should be rewarded and misconduct should always be subjected to disciplinary action and consequences.
  • Policies, procedures and rules conducive to ethical conduct, effective risk management and security awareness needs to be effectively communicated to employees across all levels of the organisation in a language that they can understand.

This is a complex process, but Crest Advisory Services (Pty) Ltd is there to assist you with every step in the process. For more information consider attending our valuable courses or contact us for assistance and advice.

  1. According to statistics provided by Dr. Johan Burger from ISS.