If you live in Cape Town and you have a car, at some point in your life, as you climbed out of your parked car, you have had a dude approach you saying something to the extent of, “Yes my laarnie! I’ll look nice after your car eh! No bumps no scratches!” It’s kind of standard. And the Cape Town car guards are kind of landmarks, in their own way, the same way that Table Mountain or Cape Point are. Due to the formalization of car guards in the CBD area of town, you see less of the traditional car guards, and in my experience parking is actually much more of a nightmare. I am not really for the formalization of informal trades.
I can see, however, how formalization can bring benefits like accountability, and better service delivery, and all that, though the car guards in town are more rude and obnoxious than their informal predecessors. But yesterday I saw, before my very eyes, how at least the accountability part might be handy. I saw an informal car guard in Muizenberg helping a kind-cab bakkie out of a parking space. They happily drove off. What I, and apparently the car guard, did not know was the guys he was assisting to pull out were not the car owners; they were stealing the car. You see, the car guard had not been there when the car owner parked and he just assumed someone climbing in and driving away was the owner. Bad assumption.
So yeah. I’m not exactly sure what I learned from that lesson. You can draw your own conclusions.