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Takealot taps hi-tech to fight delivery truck robberies

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 26 Jun 2024
Takealot has added four electric trucks to its fleet of freight vehicles at its Cape Town operations.
Takealot has added four electric trucks to its fleet of freight vehicles at its Cape Town operations.

Takealot Group is setting up a high-tech security control centre in Johannesburg that will serve as a central national security hub to monitor its trucks and delivery vehicles.

South Africa’s biggest e-tailer says it has invested heavily in ensuring the safety and security of its employees and courier vehicles, amid the worsening incidents of robberies targeting delivery vans, trucks and scooters.

While online retail in SA has witnessed remarkable growth, reaching R71 billion turnover in 2023, industry players have been expressing concern at the surge in hijackings and robberiestargeted at vehicles that deliver these online orders.

With crime syndicates now becoming more sophisticated and targeting high-value goods, such as mobile devices and laptops,Takealot says it is beefing up its security controls.

Speaking during a media briefing held in Cape Town this week, Takealot Group CEO Frederik Zietsman explained: “The reality is that there are certain pockets within our country where we have seen more and more of these incidents.

“We are setting up a central control centre, with new technologies that will be placed in the trucks to monitor all our trucks across the country. The external factor of hijackings is something that we have to deal with and we have to make sure our drivers are safe, protected and also comfortable with it [monitoring technology].”

According to Zietsman, the Naspers-owned e-tailer will add technologies at its distribution centres across SA, where trucks deliver goods to before they are sent off to different locations, such as collection points or door-to-door delivery.

The crime incidents have predominantly been taking place within the township areas, which have become an important focus area for the e-tailer, as it increasingly targets small businesses and local manufacturers in these underserved locations, he added.

“The beauty of the township economy is that some people who live there have adopted a ‘social protection’ approach, which is becoming the best way of protection – where community members are rising and fighting against crime.

“We've had some good conversations with people who are trying to solve these issues, especially those who have strong relationships with the authority figures like councillors. They see that Takealot is bringing a lot of value to the township by empowering the drivers and marketplace sellers.”

Frederik Zietsman, Takealot Group CEO.
Frederik Zietsman, Takealot Group CEO.

In November, the company added electric trucks to its fleet of freight vehicles at its Cape Town operations, in a deal facilitated through Aeversa, JAC Motors and fleet specialist Avis, which oversees Takealot’s transport operations.

Over the years, Takealot.com has grown to reach over five million customers and support over 12 000 small businesses through its Takealot Marketplace platform, according to Zietsman.

In its full-year financial results for the year ended 31 March, Naspers reached accelerated top-line growth of 18%, with e-commerce consolidated revenue of $6.3 billion. Takealot Group − which comprises Takealot.com, Mr D Food and Superbalist − reached profitability for the first time, with a trading profit of $3 million for the financial year.

According to Zietsman, Takealot has been ramping up itswarehouses, service offerings and product categories to include a wider variety of clothing, shoes and groceries, to better compete with rivals.

Takealot recently introduced TakealotMORE, an Amazon-like subscription service, offering customers exclusive benefits, including unlimited deliveries and a variety of collection options.

“Over the last 24 months, we have really expanded our business. This was a period when we rolled out physicaldistribution capabilities and scaled our operations to accommodate growth going into the new year.

“Takealot.com has continued to increase market share in SA and we continue increasing access to markets for our sellers. This is something we are exceptionally proud of,” he concluded.

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