Coast KZN

12 Mar 2018

Probe into container theft

Chris Ndaliso (Daily News)

There has been an increase in the hijacking of cargo trucks from the Durban harbour

The Hawks are investigating a syndicate believed to be behind the hijacking of cargo trucks from the Durban harbour.

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry argued Durban could run the risk of being seen as unsafe by investors, which could affect the economy if these hijackings continued.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo confirmed the investigation, but could not provide further details.

Last month, the Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) recovered a refrigerated container loaded with frozen pork worth nearly R2 million.

The container was stolen during a truck heist and recovered at a Mount Edgecombe warehouse.

Vinod Singh, Rusa’s operations manager, said he believed there was a syndicate targeting containers containing specific cargo.

He said Rusa had been recently contacted by several transport companies reporting their trucks and trailers being stolen or hijacked. In most cases, the vehicles were recovered minus their load.

In November, a transport company recovered a stolen trailer loaded with a shipping container carrying 24 tons of chicken in Verulam.

From September 2015 to September 2016, 71 trucks were hijacked in KwaZulu-Natal, according to police statistics for this period. The number increased by 10 in 2016/17.

Moshe Motlohi, Durban’s port manager for the Transnet National Ports Authority, said there had been no trucks hijacked within their jurisdiction.

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the figures were a cause for serious concern.

“Cargo-truck hijackings pose a high-impact risk to the entire value chain, from the trucking companies all the way to the receiving businesses. Businesses operating trucks will be compelled to review their existing insurance policies to mitigate against financial losses – an undesirable increase in overheads, especially for smaller companies.

“If these hijackings persist, Durban, and South Africa at large, runs the risk of being viewed by the rest of the world as an unsafe and unsecure investment destination,” Taweni Gondwe-Xaba, the chamber’s chief marketing officer said.