Two-week Pollsmoor wait for chocolate stealing dad

Cape Town - Two weeks awaiting trial in Pollsmoor Prison and a R400 fine - that was the fate of an unemployed dad from Wynberg who stole 27 chocolates from Checkers Hyper to sell for cash.

The thin married father of a 6-year-old son told the magistrate on Thursday that he worked as a cleaner, but last had a job in May.

With no lawyer to help him, he pleaded guilty to shoplifting the chocolates worth R237 from the Blue Route Mall Checkers Hyper on September 27 so that he could sell them to raise cash.

He had been in Pollsmoor Prison since his arrest for his trial.

The court was told, in aggravation of sentence, that shoplifting caused great losses to supermarkets.

Sentencing him, Magistrate Vanessa Miki took into account that he had pleaded guilty.

She sentenced him to the fine of R400, or 20 days in prison. It was suspended for three years on condition he was not convicted of a crime again.

Similar cases

While his case was under way, the court was packed with students supporting UCT #FeesMustFall activists. They muttered among themselves as they heard how long he had been in prison awaiting trial.

"For stealing chocolates!" they murmured.

In a similar case on Tuesday, a father of four from Blue Downs received his punishment for swiping alcohol from a retail chain.

Without offering an explanation, he pleaded guilty to stealing a three-year-old bottle of KWV brandy worth R100.

People in the benches giggled and shook their heads at the father in his khaki pants and a black and white hoodie.

Magistrate Vincent Ketye said he was used to dealing with these cases.

"There's not a day that goes by that this court doesn't see a shoplifting case from Shoprite," he said, leaning forward and staring at the man.

"I wonder how Shoprite is able to keep its doors open because it must be running at a loss."

He was sentenced to a fine of R500 or 30 days in prison.

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