A NAMIBIAN truck driver is back safely with his family after living through the terror of being hijacked by a gang of heavily armed men in Johannesburg.
The driver, who is in the employ of FP du Toit Transport, was overpowered by a gang of armed hijackers and thrown out of his truck after loading a consignment of tyres destined for Windhoek.
The Chief Executive Officer of FP du Toit Transport in Namibia, Stephan Terblanche, confirmed the incident and said it occurred about a week ago.
“The driver stopped at a busy intersection in Johannesburg when he was suddenly overpowered by several men armed with an assortment of firearms. Our trucks are fitted with panic buttons but the attack happened so fast that he did not even have time to press the button to call for help,” Terblanche said.
He said that after the driver was thrown out of the vehicle, the hijackers attempted to disable the tracking system mounted on the truck. In the process they damaged the dashboard inside the cabin.
According to Terblanche, the truck was fitted with a back-up tracking system of which the hijackers were unaware of.
“We were still able to track the truck to the warehouse used by the hijackers in the Alexandra area of Johannesburg,” he said.
Terblanche said the South African Police Service responded immediately and the seven members of the hijacking gang were arrested at the warehouse. It turned out that one of the seven men was a police officer attached to the OR Tambo Police Station in Johannesburg.
According to Terblanche the driver was sent for trauma counselling and returned to Namibian with his consignment of tyres after he was given the all clear from the various law enforcement agencies in South Africa.
“Hijacking incidents in South Africa are problematic, but in our case this has not happened that often. It is only the second such incident that I am aware of that occurred in the past five years,” he said.
He said the consignment of tyres has since been delivered to the transport company’s client in Windhoek.