The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal has expressed concern at the increased theft of state-owned vehicles, particularly those allocated to the Department of Social Development, which is costing the government millions.

IFP KZN spokesperson for social development Les Govender said money meant for service delivery was instead being directed to replacing state-owned vehicles targeted by crime syndicates in areas such as uMgungundlovu and Indwedwe.

Govender said a total of 53 social development vehicles taken in hijackings from 2017 to 2020 were yet to be recovered. He said  “About 21 vehicles have been recovered, but most were damaged from accidents or stripped for parts”.

He said the problem was ongoing.

“A few days ago, the department closed its office at KwaDambuza in Pietermaritzburg after a social worker was shot in the arm by hijackers who then fled in the vehicle.

“Last Tuesday, another social worker was hijacked on Edendale Road while en route to uMkhanyakude district.”

Govender assed that the Department of Agriculture had also been impacted, spending close to R14 million to replace 23 vehicles stolen in the last two years.