The dramatic increase in hijacking in the Cape Town region this year can be attributed to the greater number of people buying new cars, the safety and security minister has said.

The dramatic increase in hijacking in the Cape Town region this year can be attributed to the greater number of people buying new cars, the safety and security minister has said.

According to Charles Nqakula, there were 1 114 hijackings in the Cape Town region last year, showing a 9,1 per cent increase over the previous year. One of the main reasons is that people are buying more cars and providing city hijackers with more to choose from.

"A boost to the economy resulted in people buying more vehicles," Nqakula said, "increasing the availability of such vehicles to offenders."

"The various successes in curbing hijackings in Gauteng has forced hijackers to seek opportunities elsewhere."

Several hijackers from Gauteng have moved their activities to the coast, and Capetonians, unaware of the strategies used, are easy prey.

Other factors adding to the increase in hijackings include more motorists entering the city centre and inattentive drivers.

"Vehicle owners are not vigilant at, for example, traffic intersections, driveways and parking areas. They are easily distracted and become prime targets," Nqakula added.