Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Stolen? Mislaid? Why should we pay extra for our security?

Missing and disappearing things

It seems to be an accepted fact that things go missing in South Africa. I suppose really I should say stolen...but then I don’t have any proof of that, unless of course the one time my lap top and camera ‘disappeared’ from hubbies suit case as he left OR Tambo airport, Johannesburg or the monthly occurrences of envelopes arriving but open and contents missing, including the actual letter.

When I check in at OR Tambo airport I'm asked the usual security questions 'did you pack your own bag, etc?' and then no matter who I'm flying with the airline staff say ’we know stuff will be stolen from your bag, so we suggest you get your bag wrapped at the cost of 60 Rand per bag.

This really annoys me. The airlines know there is a chance items will be stolen for your suitcase as it travels to the plane, the airport must be aware this goes on or they wouldn't allow bag wrappers to operate inside the airport.

WTF? I’m already paying for a service, why should I have to then pay extra to stop my stuff being stolen? I don't have to pay more to leave the UK or Dubai (my frequent destinations)

There is only one solution and that's to employ better security, more CCTV and in the meantime I'd like to see the airlines increase the hand luggage allowance because as an expat, I fly frequently and have to carry documents, electronic equipment back and forth and as I can't put ANY of it in my checked in luggage, I have to carry it all on my person and I'd like to travel lighter, especially long haul flights.

Then there is the ‘lost’ post...it arrives, a slip is sent you collect your parcels and packages...easy peasy, except the slips don’t arrive and the parcels are returned to sender.
Except the parcels never reach the sender and the t-shirt and cap I sent which I declared on the customs form and the three cards I wrote (probably looked like birthday cards with money in them) never reached their destination.

You can't just pay for a stamp you pay to have everything sent with a tracking order, which can add up to 50 Rand on a letter and at least double the value of the gift and then you try tracking your tracking order and if it goes missing good luck getting a reply from the post office.
It's the same for post coming into the country. Why aren’t family and friends told by the UK postal service when they send a gift to South Africa that I have to pay a customs fee if it ever arrives? Why doesn’t the UK Postal Service advise all customers that when sending post to South Africa they should do it by recorded delivery so there is a tracking number so if the slip never arrives I can at least still collect the parcel, once I’ve paid customs clearance?

And why should we all pay twice? Is there anywhere else in the world where so much stuff goes ‘missing’?

I personally think the post office and the airport should tackle the issue head on and stop taking my money twice.