G4S Rapid … err, Snail Response

Over the past few months things have surprisingly grown legs at my house and disappeared. Empty bottle crates, a spare car tyre, an iron, shoes, etc. Two weeks ago I rounded up my employees and told them to spill the beans. Naturally none did but at the end of it all I had my suspect.

Early this morning my gardener reported that his cell phone had gone missing and he strongly suspected the guard who had just left. The gardener had chased after the guard by bike but didn’t manage to catch up with him. So he was simply reporting the event. Some 5 minutes later the guard turned up, cell in hand. He had come to confess his evil act. The story line was all too familiar ‘Satana anandilowa koma Mulungu wandiuza kuti ndibweze’ (Satan over came me but God has told me to return). With the events of the past months, I seized my chance to ask him about the things that had gone missing in the past. Naturally, again, he denied any knowledge. I threatened him by saying he would be taken to a police station. Ohhh, a gash of tears poured from his eyes accompanied with pleas saying he had never been arrested before and would not like to face the ‘soldiers’. Dude, you should have thought about the consequences first!!

Not wanting to make a trip to the Police station (for very well known reasons) I decided to press my panic alarm button at 06:05. The service is provided by Group 4 Securicor. 5 minutes no response. I pressed another one thinking that one was faulty. another 5 minutes no response. So my wife decided to call the control centre. The excuse was that the response team in the area was attending to another call so they would be there ‘soon’. At 06:20 I called them and the control centre and was told the team got lost but were now on their way. At 06:45 I called again to be told they were supposed to be at the house. I called the ‘in-charge’ of the team who never picked up the phone. I gave up. My wife called another three times to follow up and was told stories of getting lost and going to the Majika’s house (instead of Madinga). The ‘Rapid Response’ team only arrived at 07:05 by which time the guard had made a run for it!!! Their story? They were actually just starting their shift and that the night shift was supposed to attend to our call. So now who does one listen too – the team or the control centre? Why did the team get ‘lost’ in the first place when in actuall fact this is not the first time they have come to the house? What was their reaction when they visited the Majika’s house and found that no alarm had been pressed? Did they notify the control centre? If they did, what did the control centre do about it? G4S’s conduct raises so many questions.

Here we were dealing with a single petty cell phone thief in broad daylight who handed himself in. What would have happened if we were dealing with a group of gun tooting and panga wielding armed robbers in the dead of night?

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Austin Madinga's Life Unbound