I found myself homeless after earning a meagre salary and not being able to afford a decent place to stay.
Unfortunately being homeless does not go well with trying to keep a job as well and I lost my pitance paying job as well.
I was left to wander the streets of Krugersdorp in the middle of winter and found myself befriending heroine addicts who took me in to live with their dealer. Although not on drugs myself, I had to "pay" for my lodging which meant buying R50 worth of drugs a day.
I didn't have a clue how to hustle and so took another road and that was to shoplift small items I could resell to the spaza shops to pay my rent.
I was succesful a few times, but my luck ran out and I was caught. I was given a six month prison sentence of which I had to serve six weeks. When I got out, because believe me when I say that jail is not a nice place and I would never wish to return, I did everything in my power to try and get a good job so I could support myself.
Do you know that it is IMPOSSIBLE to find employment with a criminal record? Even for a petty crime like shoplifting aftershave.
Job application forms only ask you whether you have a criminal record or not. If the answer is yes, then you might as well just walk out right out the door there and then. YOU ARE NOT GETTING THE JOB.
No questions asked about why you have the record. I was one of the lucky ones who were taken back in to the bossom of my foster family and given a second chance to work for a small salry at an NGO. No questions asked there about crimainal records.
I eventually had to look for work online with an overseas company just to get a decent job that would pay me a decent salary because no questions of criminal records there either. I have now managed to work myself up to a point where I earn a very good salary, but getting there was almost impossible, and I was one of the lucky ones.
I am not surprised that our crime statistics are as high as they are. Nobody who has gone through the criminal justice system in this country has a chance at making a new life. It is made impossible for them to start again. The only way out is to return to what you know. CRIME.