Our ATM robbers being professionals rather than amateurs, they regularly blow themselves up, says the writer. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

As the creators of the spoof Darwin Awards point out, humankind is actually a steadily devolving species, nowhere near as bright as it thinks it is.

That’s pretty incontrovertible. I mean, have you watched the parliamentary television channel lately?

Fortunately, Nature has its own way, ultimately, of putting us in our place.

Since the intelligence of the species is mostly awol, we can at least be happily assured of the impending extinction of the human race.

The Darwin Awards honour those who have made the greatest possible contribution to the human gene pool by removing themselves from it. At last, an arena where South Africans can shine.

We might not do brilliantly at the Olympics. We don’t win the Maths Olympiads or the World Chess Championships. We are the bottom of every international school performance ranking. But at being terminally dumb

One of last year’s Darwin Award winners was made on a technicality - he didn’t actually kill himself but he did remove himself from the gene pool.

This Argentinian security guard faced years in prison because of being in illegal possession of a 45-calibre pistol. The mitigating aspect - the judge called it “divine punishment” in setting him free - was that while the gun was tucked into his waistband, it went off, obliterating his testicles and any prospect of procreation.

Can you see how easy this is going to be for SA? Ours is a country unrivalled, except possibly by the United States, at stupid acts of self-annihilation using firearms.

But it is when it comes to criminality that we are really going to shine. Many of the acts that win Darwin Awards are of a criminal nature.

There are discernible national trends. In the United Kingdom, these deaths rarely involve mishaps with firearms or explosives.

UK crime-related deaths are quaintly retro. Surprisingly often they involve a burglar who sneaks into premises, perhaps through a chimney or by lifting roof tiles, then gets stuck and dies of suffocation or starvation.

The Awards regularly feature some bloke - overwhelmingly, the Awards go to blokes, signalling another interesting evolutionary phenomenon - who kills himself trying to blow up a cash dispenser.

Recently, pathetically, a young German man died trying to rob a railway station ticket dispenser by pumping aerosol gas into the slot and then lighting it.

ATM robbing is a big thing here, one of our fastest growing categories of crime. Despite our ATM robbers being professionals rather than amateurs, they regularly blow themselves up.

Even more of them get themselves killed by the police. On these statistics, one should perhaps think of KZN as being SA’s Olympian-level training camp for Darwin. This is evolutionary self-destruction on a lemming like scale.

The Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu, this week expressed concern about the number of South Africans, more than 800, detained abroad on drug-related charges.

With wonderful understatement, Sisulu advises Saffers travelling abroad to “familiarise themselves with the legal and cultural practices” of the countries they are visiting.

* William Saunderson-Meyer is a columnist with the Independent On Saturday. He is @TheJaundicedEye on Twitter.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.