Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
Sometimes I wish I were a magistrate.
Few jobs can be as interesting as listening to a whole load of twaddle all day long - and presiding over it, nogal.
I am reminded of the case of a man from north of Pretoria who was brought before the court for housebreaking.
When he sidled into the dock he had dignity written all over him. He clutched a tiny Bible in one hand and walked with the grace of a bishop.
A couple of witnesses took the stand and testified how he had broken into a house, not knowing that the owner was at home. He was duly apprehended by the homeowner and handed over to the police, but only after he'd been given a moerse panelbeating.
When his turn came, my man took the stand to present his defence.
He told his story in a calm, measured tone, picking his words carefully and speaking in pure Sepedi.
He was walking down the street looking for a job, he said, when this white man stopped his car and beckoned to him. The white man told him he was moving house and needed help removing stuff from his old place.
So he got into the white man's car and drove with him to what he thought was the white man's house (the scene of the crime). When they got there, the white man got out and went around the house, leaving him in the car. He came back shortly afterwards and said he had lost the house keys. He asked the accused to break a window and open the door from inside.
So the poor fellow did as requested and lo, he was shocked when he found "that baas" in the house. The baas pointed a gun at him.
Poor thing. He was beaten up and thrown into jail. In the meantime, the white man he was trying to help had fled in his car.
Kak story my friend.
The magistrate in this case had a sense of humour and giggled throughout the evidence. In the end he sent the thief-cum-liar to the slammer.
In another court hearing, also involving burglary, a brother broke into a house when the owners were not there and was confronted by a blood-thirsty pitbull terrier that wanted to have him for lunch.
He hopped on to the kitchen sink and then still feeling vulnerable, on to the top of the fridge. The well-trained animal perched on the floor next to the fridge, waiting for the thief to come down so he could have his lunch.
The thief did not come down.
When the owner of the house returned home, he found the wide-eyed bemused wanna-be thief trembling on top of the fridge and the growling dog still waiting patiently on the floor.
In this case, the magistrate did not see the funny side of it.
He just shook his head in awe and sent the brother to the cooler.
Stupid crooks with rotten luck! Magistrate must have lotsa fun.
l Charles Mogale is the editor of Sunday World