“I am very disappointed that they did that because they are old enough to know right from wrong. I did not send them to steal,” said the mother of the two boys who stole stationery from a Verulam supermarket a day before schools opened.
She told one of her sons that she would only be able to afford the items he needed for school by the end of the month. The family survived on their grandmother’s pension of R1,400 that comes at the end of the month.
Her name will not be mentioned here in order to protect the identities of the children because this incident can stigmatize them and affect their social and academic life.
The 45-year-old unemployed woman, lives with her family in Redcliff, Verulam, and is worried about the influence her 19-year old boy is having on his younger ones. The two boys who stole stationery admitted that their older brother forced them to go and steal the stationery instead of waiting for the month to end.
The mother lamented that her children had received some stationery from the government school they attended, but the school later gave one of the boys a list of extra items for school.
“My 10-year-old came home with a list of things he needed in addition to the stationery he received, and I told him that he must tell the teacher I would only be able to buy the stuff at the end of the month.”
The two boys who stole stationery aged 10 and 13, were caught by a security man at the supermarket stealing items like-pencils, erasers, calculators, pens, and pencil cases.
A private security company, Reaction Unit South Africa, said one of its members spotted the boys stealing the items on January 12.
“When confronted by security, the boy admitted that his older brother forced him to steal the item” said the security guy. The said older brother has been arrested severally by security operatives. He was recently released from Westville Prison after serving a short sentence for theft.
The store manager was kind enough to pardon the theft and refused to press charges.