Who says we have no grip on crime when you can be detained for four hours and fined R700 for chewing gum on a Gautrain station?
Those two sisters thus punished will think twice before committing such a heinous offence again.
It’s just a pity no Cape Flats gangsters have been similarly nabbed. That would put them in their place.
No need to send in the army.
Just lure a few up to Johannesburg and invite them to travel by Gautrain. Before long one is bound to chew something, or even open a packet of chips – and security will have them in irons, refuse to let them go to the toilet, and send for reinforcements wearing bullet-proof vests.
If it’s good enough for two Durban girls, it’s even better for the Mongrels and the Fancy Boys.
I bet there are other things you can’t do on the Gautrain either. Spitting is out. Even our old suburban trains used to have notices that said “moenie spoeg nie”, though no one actually got arresting for spoeging.
Also, I wouldn’t dare to cough or sneeze, or pick my nose, or emit gas, or hum quietly to myself.
All these activities are no doubt listed as criminal offences on the Gautrain. If only such laws could also apply to Cape trains, once we have managed to stop evil-doers spray-painting the coaches with graffiti, breaking windows, attacking passengers and sometimes throwing them out while the train is still in motion.
Why not detain such culprits for even longer than four hours while denying them use of the toilet, no matter how often they cross and uncross their legs. It’s something for the railway authorities to chew on, gum now being illegal.
Meanwhile this particular crime will find its place among all those others that now enjoy international attention. Australians will be glad to read about it, saddled as they are with a law that makes it illegal for them to wear hot pink pants after midday on a Sunday.
A similar law in Thailand prohibits you from leaving home unless you have taken the precaution of putting on underwear.
In Mexico under-balcony serenades of more than one hour are banned, and in Arizona first cousins may only marry once they are over 65, though no law then stops them from having children.
In Scotland it is illegal to be drunk in possession of a cow, in France you may not name your pig Napoleon, and in Peru it is a punishable offence for unmarried young men to have female alpacas live in their homes.
Kentucky has a law that reads: “No female shall appear in a bathing suit on any highway unless she is escorted by at least two officers or unless she be armed with a club.”
New Zealanders are forbidden by a 1908 law to write letters to pirates, and in Canada it is a crime to board an aircraft while it is in flight.
Nothing about disembarking while in flight, which is what one of our MPs, Dirk Feldman, tried to do the other day.
Now chewing gum while waiting for a train in South Africa is also a crime. We are right up there with the best.
I don’t know why we don’t just pass an omnibus law that I saw once in some public gardens on Malabar Hill, above Mumbai. It warned: “Bad deeds are prohibited.”
People will stop chewing gum once they realise what a bad deed it is.