Brendan Seery
Deputy Editor
3 minute read
6 Jan 2020
6:33 am

What’s the point of your flashy Merc if you can’t even afford petrol?

Brendan Seery

A recent petty petrol theft brought home the reality of South Africans' damaging desire to look good at all costs.

Brendan Seery.

As day-to-day South African crime goes, the December 27 incident at a Durban petrol station, where a driver in a new Mercedes-Benz coupe drove off without paying for R980 worth of fuel was pretty small potatoes. Fortunately, these days, virtually all service stations have CCTV cameras, so it was clear the petrol attendants had been cheated. In days before surveillance footage, they would have been held accountable for that loss. The unregistered Merc was, clearly, newly purchased, because it had no number plates. It’s common practice for people to buy cars late in the year and drive them around on...