WALL OF SHAME FOR SHOPLIFTERS HERE TO STAY
By: Bongani Gema
Store owners are within the law to publicly display pictures of those caught stealing in order to curb future theft.
Isaac Mangena, spokesperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, told JournalismIziko that there was no violation of human dignity in the public display of shoplifters’ portraits taken with their stolen goods if they were caught.
“If this is done to ensure that other people are vigilant and that the criminals are made known, then we cannot say their dignity is being violated,” he said.
He said that similar tactics were used by the police when they had a wanted suspect in order to invite public assistance and the intention was never to defame.
He added that if a person were to cry foul because of this practice, it wouldn’t be a human rights issue as they do not regard it as such.
Rennie Govender of the Durban CBD’s Bargain Basket wholesalers said that in their store they take pictures of shoplifters after they were caught and display them in the entrance for all the customers to see.
“Besides that the thieves are shamed by this, they are also aware that they are no longer welcomed in the store and the public is also aware of their stealing,” he said.
He added that although they had other measures to curb theft such as parcel storage before customers began their shopping, it had little effect because most of the people caught had hidden the goods in what they were wearing.
Govender added that they had never received complaints of violation of human dignity by doing this. Pictures that had been removed due to renovations currently underway will be returned afterwards.
“We will continue to shame them because what they’re doing is costing us lot of money,” said Govender.