With a number of high profile hijackings having taken place in recent months, it's important to be prepared.

Image: Arrive Alive

JOHANNESBURG – With a number of high profile hijackings having taken place in recent months, it’s important to be prepared.

On Wednesday night, Rhythm City actor Dumi Masilela died after being shot during an attempted hijacking in Tembisa.

It follows the attempted hijacking of Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in Hyde Park in June.

How to avoid being hijacked:

1. 2km from your house, be extra alert, switch off the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings.

2. Remember to stop your vehicle just on the inside of the gate and select reverse whilst waiting for the gate to close. This creates confusion and may buy you a few seconds for the gate to close completely behind you.

3. Check your driveway and street before you leave or enter your premises. Make sure the driveway is well lit and clear from shrubbery where prepetrators can hide.

4. Be aware of unknown pedestrians close to your residential address – do not turn into your driveway – pass and go back later.

5. Get to know your neighbours.

6. Be aware of vehicles parked close to your address with occupants inside. It might be perpetrators observing the area.

7. Be alert if your animals do not greet you at the gate as usual. It might be that the perpetrators over-powered them.

8. Phone your home and ask for someone to make sure your driveway is safe and to open and close the gate for you.

9. When returning home after dark, ensure that an outside light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate. Check with your armed response company if they are rendering rendezvous services.

10. If at any time you have to open the gate yourself, switch off the vehicle, leave the key in the ignition and close the door. Then open the gate. If you have small children in the vehicle, take the key with you (this is the only exception). You then need the key as a “negotiating tool”. The perpetrators want your vehicle and you want your children. If your children are older, it is advised that they exit the vehicle with you when opening the gate so that you are all separated from the vehicle should a hijack occur.

What to do if you are hijacked:

1. Do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the hijacker. Do exactly as told by the hijackers.

2. Do not resist, especially if the hijacker has a weapon.

3. Surrender your vehicle and move away. Try to put as much distance between yourself and the hijacker(s) as quickly as possible.

4. Keep your hands visible to the hijacker. Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave everything in the vehicle.

5. Do not make eye contact with the hijacker. He may perceive this behaviour as a threat and retaliate aggressively.

6. Do not speak too fast (if you are able to talk) and do not make sudden movements.

7. Gather as much information as possible without posing a threat.

  • How many people?
  • How many firearms and description thereof?
  • What were the perpetrators wearing (clothing)?
  • To which direction did they drive off?
  • Take note of the language they use (the accent).

8. If taken hostage – It can be helpful to have a survival plan in the back of your mind should such an incident occur. It is difficult not to become paranoid about being taken hostage. However, it is just as easy to become complacent.

9. First phone the SA Police Service on 08600 10111. They will dispatch the medical services if needed. Other emergency numbers you could phone are 112 ANY Network (Vodacom+MTN+Cell C) or 147 Vodacom ONLY.

10. Activate the vehicle tracking device if the vehicle is fitted with one.