Fake police officers, travelling in a white 4x4 bakkie, effortlessly pulled over an unsuspecting truck driver before hijacking his vehicle on Saturday.
Video footage from trucking company Time Link Cargo shows the driver, who was travelling to Cape Town, being stopped on the N12, near Potchefstroom.
Two of the three hijackers were wearing South African Police Service (SAPS) reflector vests. The third appeared to be wearing a police-issue bulletproof vest.
The driver was escorted to the 4x4 after getting out of the truck.
A fourth suspect then gets into the truck and drives off. Within minutes, the bogus police officers and the hijacked truck are back on the road.
The truck makes another quick stop, and the hijacker is joined by two other men. The suspects try to cover their faces when they notice the onboard security camera. One uses a cloth to cover the camera.
Afzal Hamed, editor of SA Long Distance Truckers, says the hijacker appears to be an experienced driver.
"He knows what he is doing. He knew exactly how to start the truck and get the load moving," he said.
"He must have driven an automatic truck before… The truck never jerked when he pulled away," Hamed added.
Hamed told News24 that he has been in contact with the owners of the company since the incident happened. The driver pressed the panic button before he left the vehicle, flagging the irregular stop.
The truck was recovered within hours.
Hamed urged motorists and truck drivers not to stop on the side of the road, but to go to the police station in the nearest town or city instead.
"This is the third incident in the last three months that a truck was hijacked," Hamed said.
He advised drivers to put on their hazards, inform authorities and not to drive faster than 40km/h.
No arrests have been made. Police are investigating an attempted truck hijacking.
Gauteng police spokesperson, Colonel Noxolo Kweza, told News24 that the suspects are still at large.
"The suspects escaped, leaving the driver alone," Kweza said. "Police are appealing to truck drivers to be vigilant and demand police to produce their identity cards in order to ensure that they are dealing with real police officers."