Alcohol abuse destroys lives and rips families apart and a growing concern in Ballito is the increase in teenagers trying to get into drinking spots and wandering the beaches drunk.
Gavin Higgins, owner of Captain Tipsy’s bar and Shakers nightclub told the Courier that kids have always taken chances but the sheer numbers in recent times is disturbing.
“Their parents are complicit in this. I see them dropping their underage kids in Ballito Village in the evening and they would have to be incredibly naive to think their children are there to have a cup of coffee,” said Higgins.
“At what point do we take responsibility for our kids?”
He said that the number and quality of fake identity documents was on the rise and clearly suggested that someone was making these false identity documents for sale – and the teens are certainly buying.
Higgins handed over a stack of dozens of fake IDs, some clearly the work of teens without a flair for arts and crafts, but others were good quality.
Upon closer inspection, the Courier recognised several faces of children from prominent local schools, with a surprising number being girls.
One young man was even silly enough to use his school photo, in which his uniform is clearly visible, on his fake ID before trying to glue it to a Ster Kinekor movie card.
Others are obviously the work of professional counterfeiters, meaning somehow local teenagers are getting into contact with criminals to produce these IDs.
Possibly even the same criminal syndicates that create fake documents for illegal immigrants.
“Adolescents should not be drinking – and for good reason.
“They cannot make sound decisions drunk and then get themselves into trouble. Just look at what happened with the young man who was assaulted last year.”
“You cannot just say boys will be boys, that is not good enough. If he was never there – as it should be – the assault could never have happened,” he said.
Higgins said when the teens get denied entry, they often head down to the beach in the dark or wander the streets.
“I saw a pair of girls who could not have been older than 15 stroll down to the dark beach all on their own around 11pm after being bounced from the club. When something ends up happening then it is the establishments that get the blame.
Meanwhile the parents either have no idea where their children are and what they are doing or – worse – they are well aware that their children are out getting drunk.”
Fortunately, many clubs and bars have now started using black lights to identify real IDs, as the counterfeiters have not yet mastered the UV markings. In normal light the IDs appear genuine.
The Courier spoke with the owner of one of the fake IDs on condition of anonymity. He claimed a friend of a friend would get the IDs from an individual named ‘King’.
“You need R250, your personal details and a passport photo.”
In South African law the creation and or possession of fake ID documents is an act of fraud. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South African teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 consume an average of 11,5 litres of pure (100%) alcohol over the course of a year’s drinking, with males in general drinking more, 17,2 litres to the girls’ 5,9 litres a year.
The WHO also records that 68% and 59% of liver cirrhosis in South African men and women respectively is due to alcohol abuse, while about 52% and 11% of road accidents are due to drinking.
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