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By: Jail4bail  11-11-2011

I got my name “Jail4Bail” from living for 74 days in 2 shopping centers’ in Cape Town, South Africa. The purpose was to raise awareness around Autism and funds for Autism Western Cape. Living in a shopping centre 24 hours a day you start to understand the dynamics, the trends, the people, security, problems and you realize how little you actually know of what’s happening in reality. I can only comment on Bayside Mall (Tableview) and Canal Walk where I spend my days.

Let me make it very clear this is no attack on Bayside Mall or Canal Walk this is a reality check for parents.

How often do you drop your kids at a shopping mall?

Most kids especially in their teen’s hangout at the Malls over South Africa and in other countries for that matter. This is the place where they meet their friends, hangout, go to movies, get some take a ways and enjoy all the entertainment the Mall has to offer with lots of security around, yes? Mommy and daddy are very happy to drop the kids off, even taking turns to drop and fetch, their precious little angels in a safe protected environment, right?

Yeh sure, how stupid could you be as a parent to believe or trust this? Do you actually get you butt out of your car and go inside to see your little angel purchase the actual movie ticket? NO you Don’t! Every Friday and Saturday evening it looks more like a drop-and-go zone at the airport, parents dumping their kids and their friends, to get rid of them with guilt money ranging between R50-200 to get them out of your hair.

So let’s look at what your kids are actually doing and what they are exposed to?

The drug dealers specifically targeting your child. They need that R50 note you gave you baby to ensure their stock turnover and cash flow. The basic MO would be a 20-24 year old dealer would have a group of 8-12 of kids between 10 -15 years old selling drugs to their peers. The dealer know and understand that child act protect the rights of children under the age of 16 not much will happen to them if caught, other than parents being contacted to remove them from the centre.

By the time you collect you precious cargo as responsible parent stopping in front of the exit, usually between 10 -12, your child is of his/her high. Very excited to tell you about the movie they watched, with stub in hand which they collected from trashcans, every body goes home happy. Only to repeat the next weekend. Yes that’s your little angel I am talking about!

That is if you come and fetch your kids yourself! Every weekend I had to see kids as young as 10 years old, not having a lift home at sometimes 3am on a Sunday morning. Nobody will tell you that the friends’ mom was so pissed that she could hardly walk collecting “the kids” at 2 am and driving them home.

The centre’s management and security calls your kids “Mall -Rats” the kids whose parent have no clue where they are and what they do over weekends at the Malls.

You may argue that you trust your child, and they will never lie to you, like you never did when you were their age, right? The main difference now is drugs, abuse, child porn, rape etc. more in your face than ever before. You may argue but “there is security”. Yip the peeps are doing the best they can, supported by undercover police officers, CCTV camera’s, radio communication, to baby sit your little angel, who slurs abusive language, insults and sometimes attacking the security for playing your parental role.

The centre management and security will do everything in their power to investigate, eliminate, get rid of bad elements within the Malls and I have witnessed it first hand with arrests, banning people and monitoring hot spots.

I don’t understand you are happy to pay someone you trust to babysit your child at home, are you willing to pay security to look after you child at a Mall? No, it’s the Mall’s responsibility, yeah sure, thank about it!

See you at the Mall.


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