Spieners (Part 1)

It’s every motorist’s worst fear – being held up at gunpoint and hijacked or having their car stolen.

According to police crime statistics, the past four years has seen an upwards trajectory in car hijackings. The country’s hotspots for this crime are Johannesburg, followed closely by Durban.

This week, Special Assignment speaks to families of two hijack victims – Charlotte Ramohai and Mohammed Darsot – who died at the hands of their ruthless hijackers. In court, the families face the alleged hijacker duo accused of killing their loved ones and who, despite the evidence against them, pleaded not guilty to murder.

Yet in some communities in South Africa, stealing cars is regarded as a professional career, a normal nine-to-five job. In the south of Johannesburg, we gain insight into the lifestyle associated with this crime by speaking to some of the perpetrators, who refer to themselves as Spieners.

A hijacking couple dubbed “Bonnie and Clyde” talk about being able to hijack a car within minutes, with military precision. The seemingly innocent Bonnie, who is secretly armed, is used as bait to target victims with desirable cars.

Spieners Part 1 is produced by Lee McCabe and Lindile Mpanza, and will be broadcast in our new slot on Wednesday nights at 21h30 on SABC3