Beggars at robots
On the way to church this morning we listened to the radio. They were interviewing Wayne Minnaar, the head of the Joburg Metro Police, about the problem of beggars at robots. It’s illegal, the interviewer says, so why don’t the Metro Police do something about it. It’s not so easy says Wayne Minnaar. They are homeless and have no Id. You can’t give them a ticket for begging, because what address would you put on the ticket? And you can’t put them in jail, because begging isn’t a major crime, so there’s nothing you can do.
But they are criminals says the interviewer. But anyway, says Minnaar, people give them money. Once we took a lot of them off the street to a place of safety, and gave them a lecture on the dangers of begging, and they just went straight back on the streets again. Because people give them money, and it’s not a major crime. You can’t put them in jail as if they were murderers or rapists.
This is followed by an interview with a a doctor who talks about piles. He’s not very articulate, and ums and ahs a lot, but unlike the head of the Metro Police, he has a cure. There are lots of cures for piles, and they are quick. Just give ’em an enema.
Perhaps Wayne Minnar could take a leaf out of his book.
Or perhaps he could take a leaf out of the book of the Durban Metro Police, and not bother giving tickets to homeless beggars, but rather ticket the motorists who give them money while stopped at robots.
I wonder if they’ve started doing it yet, and what the response of motorists has been?
I think it calls for a new Defiance Campaign, remember back in 1952, when people were willing to go to jail for breaking unjust laws. People would sit on park benchest for the wrong racial group, go in the wrong entrances in post offices and the like, until the government announced harsher penalties for breaking laws by way of protest. Like flogging.
So if people were willing to go to jail to protest the right to exercise Christian charity by giving money to beggars at robots, would the government enact legislation to enable them to be flogged. Perhaps the law against the Defiance Campaign is still on the stature book, and then we could go full circle.