If is with shock and utter dismay that I see our beautiful country becoming the laughing stock of many because of complete contempt of law and order. In full view of all business people and shoppers, illegal selling of cigarettes is taking place in Knysna.
I prefer doing most of our shopping in Knysna. Two weeks ago, I saw at least five young guys - two of them surely under 18 - selling cigarettes illegally on the sidewalks and street corners at the western side of the Checkers shopping complex, in broad daylight and seemingly without fear.
I brought this to the attention of our ward councillor in Sedgefield, where we reside.
To my amazement, the situation has worsened. When we went shopping in Knysna on Tuesday July 28, we saw even more (I counted eight young guys and at least two looked like minors) doing the same trade in the same area.
Cigarette packets are held up in raised hands, and they even ran towards my car to do some selling when I reduced speed to try and take a photo.
I did not even go to the police - I have been told they would do nothing about this, because the smokers among them allegedly get their supply for free from these ‘cig pimps’. So sad if you cannot trust your own law enforcers...
Mr Mayor, this is not a threat, but a promise: If something DRASTIC is not done about this illegal practice, I intend to expose the situation in the media with proof of video footage and my telephoto lens.
As an ex journalist, I have enough experience to exploit these possibilities and to get a process started. I intend bringing this to the attention of national authorities, too.
Please do not send uniformed policemen, because law enforcers in plain clothes have a much better chance to make arrests within minutes and so put an end to this audacious disrespect for the law.
Jasper Schellingerhout, Sedgefield
(Just before going to press, Knysna Municipality confirmed receipt of Mr Schellingerhout’s letter. “We wish to confirm that the matter is receiving attention and a reply will be forthcoming in the near future,” according to a response in three languages and signed ‘Municipal Manager’. It also provided a Collab reference number that Mr Schellingerhout could use for future correspondence regarding this matter. - Eds.)