Heels & Horsepower Magazine

The latest on hijackings in South Africa (November 2020)

The South African Police Service has published crime statistics for the period between 1 July and 31 September 2020, showing a decline in hijackings as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

The country reported a total of 4,803 car-jackings over the period – a decrease of 1.6%. However, the data shows a clear increase in cases as the country continued to ease movement restrictions and moved to a level 1 lockdown.

The statistics are also heavily weighted by a big drop in car-jackings in the North West and Northern Cape (43,7% and 55,6%  Y-o-Y respectively), while cases increased in Gauteng and the Free State on an annual basis.

Image credit: Businesstech.co.za

As with the country’s other major crimes statistics, majority of cases were reported in the most populous areas.

Most carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (2,435), followed by the Western Cape (838) and KZN (733). Sedans and hatchbacks are the most popular targets, followed by bakkies and SUVs.

Hijackings are unfortunately a prevailing part of our crime story, with over 30,000 hijackings of motor vehicles, including trucks, taking place in a single year”

– bianca de Beer, spokesperson for Dial Direct

Nyanga in the Western Cape reported the most number of car-jackings (180), followed by Khayelitsha (63). Mamelodi East in Gauteng (61) was the area with the most cases reported outside of the Western Cape.

Most of these hijackings take place in suburban areas followed close by townships. The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations:

Image credit: businesstech.co.za

With more cars back on the road, hijackers are seizing the opportunity by pouncing on unsuspecting motorists resulting in a significant spike in hijackings, noted insurer Dial Direct.

“Hijackings are unfortunately a prevailing part of our crime story, with over 30,000 hijackings of motor vehicles, including trucks, taking place in a single year,” said Bianca de Beer, spokesperson for Dial Direct.

“Our claims data shows that hijackings have increased by 20% from 2019 to 2020,” she said.

Image credit: businesstech.co.za

Richard Brussow, director of the National Hijacking Prevention Academy (NHPA), has been investigating hijackings for 21 years and recently shared his findings from an in-depth analysis of hijackings that took place between August 2019 and July 2020.

Hijackers prefer spots where vehicles are moving slowly or stationary – ideally spots where there are easy escape routes

– Richard Brussow, director of the National Hijacking Prevention Academy (NHPA)

Some key findings of the report when it comes to hijacking trends showed that although hijackings occur every day of the week, they typically peak on Fridays. More hijackings occur from 12h00 midday, peaking at between 16h00 and 20h00.

Brussow said that hijackers prefer spots where vehicles are moving slowly or stationary – ideally spots where there are easy escape routes – with most hijackings taking place in residential driveways.

“Other hotspots include traffic signs or intersections, the side of the road (when the driver stops to answer the phone, for example), schools, filling stations, parking areas and places where passengers are picked up or dropped off,” he said.

Pistols and revolvers are mostly used, with a smaller percentage of hijackings involving high calibre guns, knives and even bare hands.”

Source: Businesstech.co.za

Nitrogen Gas vs Air: Which is best and why?

The practice of filling our tyres with nitrogen is not yet as common as it could be, even though it has many safety benefits. Vuyi Mpofu explores the reasons why more motorists should switch to using nitrogen in their tyres

Nitrogen gas is environmentally friendly, non-flammable and non-corrosive . It is a pure gas and does not attack or oxidise the rubber of the tyre from the inside like air does.  Nitrogen in tyres is also known to prolong tyre life and improve road handling.  For these reasons, nitrogen tyre inflation is mostly preferable to air inflation

Nitrogen gas in tyres does not hold heat thereby allowing the tyres run cooler. Filling your tyres with nitrogen reduces tyre pressure variation which is normally caused by changes in tyre temperature. As the biggest molecule gas, nitrogen is slow to migrate through a tyre, causing very little loss of pressure.

There is a direct correlation between tyres filled with nitrogen gas and road safety.  In South Africa, the top-three reasons for tyre related accidents are:

  1. Poor tyre condition 
  2. Vehicle overloading 
  3. Incorrect inflation

The above conditions are all within our control and require a decent measure of diligence on the part of all drivers. Correctly maintaining one’s tyres is a long term process while it’s not every day that drivers overload their vehicles.  On the other hand however, filling tyres with nitrogen gas is an easy habit to get into and one which has many benefits.  These include:

  1. Slower rate of pressure loss
  2. Cooler running temperature of tyres
  3. Improved road handling
  4. Reduced corrosion

1. Slower Rate of Pressure Loss

The molecular structure of nitrogen differs from that of air, in such a way that it escapes through the tyre’s inner liner or tube at a slower rate than regular compressed air. The result is a dramatically slower rate of pressure loss in a tyre filled with nitrogen. For example, it might take up to six months to lose 0.14kpa with nitrogen, compared to just one month with compressed air.

2. Cooler Running Temperature of Tyres

Tyres inflated with nitrogen run cooler than those inflated with air, resulting in an improvement in tyre life of up to 20%.  By reducing the tyre’s running temperature, you increase its tread life thereby increasing its overall lifespan. 

3. Improved Road Handling 

As tyres heat up, their inflation pressure increases, which in turn reduces the size of the tyre’s footprint – the area that has contact with the road.  Subsequently, the tyre grip is reduced as a result of the tyre’s diminished footprint. So the cooler the tyres run the better their ability to grip the road.

4. Reduced Corrosion

Unlike air there’s no moisture in pure nitrogen, thereby drastically reducing the possibility of corrosion in tyres. 

In Conclusion…

Filling one’s tyres with nitrogen gas should be the norm for South African road users as it is safer than filling up with air.  It is also cost effective as it leads to better maintenance of tyres.

Nitrogen gas is the ultimate tyre inflation gas and is available at reputable tyre fitment centres across the country at a nominal cost. 

At a Glance: Meet the Mercedes-Benz GLE 400d Coupe, a Coupe for heightened standards

Mercedes-Benz has launched the latest GLE 400d Coupe, a burgeoning SUV and our Editor, Vuyi Mpofu attended the media presentation. She shares a bird’s-eye-view of what the vehicle has to offer.

The new GLE Coupé combines the modern luxury, elegance and sportiness of a coupé with the robustness and technology of the latest large premium SUV models.

South African customers will initially only have one model available in 2020: the GLE 400 d 4MATIC Sports Coupe, which offers a powerful 3.0 litre six-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque. This results in a brisk 0-100 time of 5.7 seconds at a combined fuel consumption of 7.4-6.9 l/100 km.

“With the renewal of the premium-SUV family, Mercedes-Benz is also putting the GLE Coupé on a new technical footing, says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.  “The GLE 400d Coupé combines the impressive power of an off-road vehicle with the emotively appealing sportiness and elegance of a coupé,” says Govender.  

Exterior design: powerful presence 

The new GLE Coupé is 4939 mm long and 2010 mm wide (39 mm longer and 7 mm wider than its predecessor).  The front view combines the characteristics of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family with clear coupé attributes such as the diamond grille with its single horizontal louvre.

The dynamism of the coupé line is especially evident in the rear-end design. A broad muscle in the vehicle flank beneath the C-pillar, that starts in the rear door and envelops the tail lamps, gives the GLE Coupé its powerful, ready-to-pounce appearance. Together with the elongated tail lamps, it highlights the width of the rear end. The lamps are specific to the coupé, but fit the characteristic day and night design of the Mercedes-Benz SUVs outline.

The GLE 400d Coupé combines the impressive power of an off-road vehicle with the emotively appealing sportiness and elegance of a coupé.

– Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa

Interior design: sporty, with particular design touches 

The interior of the new GLE Coupé shares numerous features with the other models in the new premium-SUV family and clearly emphasises the sporty aspect. A familiar sight is the modern cockpit with two large 12.3-inch /31.2 cm screens. The strikingly styled instrument panel, horizontally divided by a trim tier, transitions seamlessly into the door panels. The sporty emphasis comes courtesy of the standard sports seats and the new sports steering wheel with nappa leather trim. The SUV touch, meanwhile, is added by the tall centre console with the dominant grab handles.

Enjoy the pleasure of being served: the Mercedes-Benz User Experience

The GLE Coupé offers the latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system with a host of functions for connectivity, entertainment and operating comfort. They include intuitive voice control and the learning capability of MBUX, as well as a large range of apps that can be integrated into or controlled with MBUX.

Driving assistance systems: even better support in all situations

The new GLE Coupé has the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems, which results in an especially high level of active safety. As standard, the new GLE Coupé boasts Active Brake Assist, which can help prevent rear-end collisions and collisions with crossing pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

Some Intelligent Drive functions can be ordered as additional options. They include the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation, which allows the vehicle to react to information from Live Traffic, even before the driver or the radar and camera sensors can perceive a traffic obstruction. When a traffic tailback is detected, the speed is reduced to approx. 100 km/h as a precaution unless the driver specifically decides otherwise. 

The technical data of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé:

  GLE 400 d 4MATIC Coupé 
Model/Number of cylinders/Arrangement Diesel/6 in-line 
Displacement cc 2925 
Rated output, combustion enginekW/hp at rpm243/330 at 3600-4200
Rated torque, combustion engine Nm at rpm 700 at 1200-3200 
Acceleration 0-100 km/h s5.7 
Top speed km/h240 
Consumption, combined l/100 km 7.4-6.9 
CO2 emissions, combined (AMG Line as standard) g/km 210-202
Image courtesy of Motorpress

Priced from:

GLE 400 d 4MATIC Coupé: R 1 814 000 

WATCH the media presentation of the new Nissan Navara

The award-winning Navara is now ruggedly bolder and more exciting than its predecessor and is available with a host of new design and technological upgrades.

Renowned for its tough looks, robust capabilities; reliability and versatility, the new Navara, remains a reliable partner for everyday drives and is suited for motorists going on adventurous journeys or performing heavy duty, labour-intensive jobs.