Unidentified assailants robbed South African Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga as she was travelling with her bodyguards along one of the country’s main highways.
“The tires of the minister’s car were punctured by spikes, bringing the car to a stop enabling the criminals to rob the occupants of valuables,” Transport Ministry spokesman Collen Msibi said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This incident took place in the early hours of Monday morning when the minister was en route to Pretoria.”
The minister and her bodyguards were unharmed and safe, he said.
South African police said in a separate statement that the robbers took personal belongings and her two security guards’ service pistols in the attack, which occurred on the N3 highway southeast of Johannesburg.
“A manhunt has since been launched following this unprecedented incident to bring to book those responsible for this attack,” police spokeswoman Athlenda Mathe said.
South Africa has one of the world’s highest crime rates, a status that’s underpinned by widespread inequality and high unemployment.
There were 280,000 hijacking incidents in the country in the 12 months through March, according to Statistics South Africa.