Great news from Gauteng: Pretoria Zoo’s 2 metre (7ft) black mamba has escaped. And no-one knows where it is.
Craig Allenby, the zoo’s marketing manager, said staff realised last week that the snake’s terrarium was empty.
“The area was immediately cordoned off, and stayed cordoned off for two days while we hunted, but in vain. We suspect the snake could have slithered into the roof, but we can’t get in there because of the angle and the narrow gap.”
There was no need for hysteria, he said, as the black mamba was in all likelihood preparing for hibernation, and was in a constricted area, with little chance of it reaching any member of the public.
No need for hysteria indeed, because herpetologist (or “snake expert” as IOL decribe him) Professor Graham Alexander tells us that black mambas are dangerous although not aggressive. Unless, of course, they feel threatened, in which case:
“…there’s a good chance that it will attack. Their poison* is neurotoxic, and a bite can lead to a heart attack within 30 minutes.”
“It is an unfortunate reality that these things can happen to anybody”
The words of Springbok Rugby Coach Peter de Villiers, quoted in this morning’s Cape Times on the Bees Roux incident in which the Bulls’ prop is accused of beating a Tshwane Metro Police Officer to death in the early hours of Friday morning.
De Villers went on to say:
The team supports Bees 100 percent, not on the deed, but rather on the circumstances that led to the situation developing.
Well, let’s have a quick run through on what we know so far, shall we?
It is alleged that Jacobus Stephanus “Bees” Roux (“Bees” being Afrikaans for “Ox”) was pulled over in the early hours of Friday morning (a few hours ahead of the Pumas v Bulls game) when Metro Police suspected he was driving while drunk. What followed seems a little confused – depending on whom you choose to believe, so here’s an independent eye-witness account from Richard Motegeni, a security guard at a nearby building:
Motegeni said the white VW Polo was seen driving very slowly at about 1.36am.
“Suddenly a large man and a Metro police officer tumbled out of the door on the driver’s side.”
He said the big man, whom he only later learned was Bees Roux, was immediately on top of Mohale.
“He shouted, ‘You thief! You want to steal my car!’ and repeatedly hit the officer very hard in the face. The officer did not fight back.
“The big man then twice lifted the officer up by his clothes at his shoulders and back and threw him down hard on the tarred road, head first.”
Motegeni said Roux then kicked the officer, after which he walked away quickly to his car, which was apparently rolling very slowly forwards.
“He brought his car to a stop, returned and started hitting the officer again.”
Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha told News24 that when paramedics arrived on the scene the deceased was already dead.
“He had a massive injury to the head. I don’t know what they used (to hit him),” he said.
Botha said there was blood on the road where the body was lying. “It looks like his head hit the tar road.”
Suddenly, all becomes clear. And what seemed like another utterly idiotic statement from the gaffe-prone de Villers makes perfect sense. I mean, who among us wouldn’t support Roux “on the circumstances that led to the situation developing”? You know, having a skinful on the night before a big game and then jumping in your car to head home? Of course the Boks support him 100% in that – after all, it’s the perfect message to be sending out, isn’t it?
And yes, the whole picking up a police officer by his shoulders and throwing him down hard onto the tarred road, head first: that’s the sort of thing that can happen to anybody.
Actually, if I’m absolutely honest, that hasn’t ever happened to me, although I once almost tripped up a firefighter, but that was an accident and he was off duty at the time.
I wonder if it’s ever happened to any of my readers? Or to Peter? Or to any of the other Springbok players who are “100% behind Bees”?
There’s long been a suspicion that de Villiers isn’t the man for the Springbok coaching position. They say he can’t handle the media, that he’s out of his depth. Many cite his lack of experience, although the much-loved Jake White had even less experience when he took on the job.
But then others suggest that de Villiers’ detractors are racist and that it is actually not his experience nor his ability which is the problem, but rather the colour of his skin.
Having seen the interview he gave yesterday and read about it in the newspapers today, I’d like to suggest that we look beyond his experience, his ethnicity and his annoying voice and just think about what he has said for a moment.
There is absolutely no excuse for his voicing any kind of support for Bees Roux – either in the alleged fatal assault, nor in the supposedly ubiquitous “circumstances leading up to the situation developing”. I wonder what the players think of this? Are they really 100% behind Roux as de Villiers suggests? And if so, why?
As far as I’m concerned, the diplomatic way to go would have been to choose not to comment on the situation. But he did.
The next best thing would have been to distanced yourself and your team from the situation. To have made some comment about the police investigation being ongoing etc etc and then move on to the next question about why your side doesn’t have a defence.
But at no point do you come out and support a man who has allegedly used his huge size and strength to repeatedly smash a police officer’s head into the road until he was dead.
I don’t care about how good or how crap de Villiers is as a coach. It doesn’t bother me if he thinks there’s a referee’s conspiracy against the Boks. I don’t give a toss if he is coloured, black, white or green and gold. He could come in polka dot for all I care. But when he sits there as the national coach and says what he did, when he sends out the message to kids that it’s OK to drink drive, that your colleagues will support your actions when you have spent the weekend in a prison cell on a murder charge, then I simply cannot understand why this man still has a job. Anywhere else on this earth, he would rightfully already have been sacked.
I’m an atheist. A very happy one at that. You won’t sway me, so please don’t even try. Equally, I won’t try to tell you who or who not to worship. Other than me, obviously: but that’s a given, anyway.
What I don’t understand (and probably never will) is reactions such as those of “Bruinman” to the deaths of three children (since updated to five) in a horrific car accident near Pretoria.
It is always sad to read news like this, especially when there are children involved. My condolences to the family and friends of the children. May the Lord be with you and give you strength in this time of bereavement. God Bless.
Look, I’m completely with him about the “sad news” bit. And, for what it’s worth, perhaps even the condolences bit, too. But then it goes horribly wrong, because I’d actually have liked the Lord to have been with the kids in the back of the car, looking after them and maybe preventing them from plunging 15 metres (45ft) off a road bridge and onto the freeway below; not turning up a day later with a bashful apology and a pat on the back for the grieving parents, like the murderer bringing flowers to the funeral.
Perhaps someone can explain to myself and my readers as to why the “loving”, “omnipresent” God wasn’t there to stop these five innocent kids dying in such a horrible way. While you’re at it, help me out with the rape stats in South Africa (52,000 pa) – can “He” not do something to sort that out at all? Cholera in Zimbabwe? 80,000 infected, 3,500 dead. Why would “He” let that suffering occur? And while we’re there, why do “He” and his followers tolerate Robert Mugabe swearing himself in (again) on the Bible “in the sight of God”? Not the sort of message I’d want to be sending out, but “He” allowed it to happen (again) this week.
I could go on and on, you know. I often do.
It’s unfathomable to me as to how Christians (and those of other religions) can so easily turn a blind eye or make excuses for those things which don’t fit conveniently into their religious demographic. If you think you’re different and you can tell us how and why these things happen with such regularity and apparent impunity right under “His” beard, please leave a comment.
Note well: The first person to use the phrase “God works in mysterious ways” will be banned. Immediately.