Durban – The mother of the two boys who stole stationery from a Verulam supermarket a day before schools opened told one of her sons she would only be able to afford the items he needed by the end of the month.
“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. She may not be identified to protect the identities of her children.
The mother said her children received some stationery from the government school they attended, but the school had given one of the boys a list of extra items.
“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.”
She said the family depended on the grandmother’s monthly pension of R1 400 to survive.
Her sons, aged 10 and 13, were caught stealing stationery such as erasers, calculators, pens, and pencil cases.
A private security company, Reaction Unit South Africa, said one of its members saw the boys commit the theft on January 12.
"When confronted by security, the boy admitted that his older brother forced him to steal the items," Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram said.
The store manager, who felt sorry for them, did not press charges.
Older brother mentioned
The 45-year-old unemployed woman, who lived with her family in Redcliff, Verulam, said on the day of the incident she had been at court attending a case involving her daughter. She would not say what the matter was about.
“When I came back from court at around 12:00, I asked my husband where the children were and he said they woke up in the morning and took a walk to their friend's house.”
She said when her sons returned home later that day, they did not say that they had been in trouble.
“The next day I read in the local newspaper that two brothers had been caught stealing stationery. I knew it was them because their older brother had also been mentioned."
She believed that because of the theft, her husband would no longer get the job at Rusa he had applied for.
The mother said she was particularly concerned about the influence her 19-year-old son was having on the younger boys. She said he had been arrested many times.