I’ve never understood the impracticality of many South African uniforms which scream uncomfortable colonialism from long pants and shirts. On that 30C day last week, it was unfair punishment for the Knysna Municipal Law Enforcement officers who chased 6 medium-sized pigs around our garden.
I may admire pigs but we cannot allow them and cattle to roam our streets. Their shit lands up in the gutters to become ecoli in our estuary. They become road hazards. They destroy lawns so that you doubt that they ever existed. If its garbage day, as it was last week, there’s guaranteed to be a big mess. This is suppose to be the suburbs!
I’ve complained about this many times. Fact is that phoning your complaint becomes a racist result i.e. one or two municipal cops turn up and chase the piggies with hoots and clapping, away from white houses and back up the hill towards where black people stay (how many gardens have you seen in White Location, Concordia etc.?). I even used flying pigs to symbolise my distaste for Lauren Waring, the previous Municipal Manager, who lied about their removal.
Now, it had gotten out of control. 25 pigs were visiting daily, two herds, one of 16 (with lots of piglets) and the other with 9 on their way to adulthood.
So i trapped the second lot. With three gates closed, i called 044 302 6551, the number for Knysna Municipal Law Enforcement. It’s the same number you call for the baboon menace that grew the last year. I have it stored on my cellphone as ‘Pigs’ (no insult intended towards our cops). I explained that they would need to send more than 1 van and someone with a tranquilliser gun.
I got 1 friendly employee in a baby bakkie with no tranquilliser gun. He listened to my two-year complaint and called back-up, putting on a smile whilst saying, “This will be fun.”
Back-up arrived but the vet with the sleeping darts was going to take half-an hour. I jokingly asked if that was a Knysna half hour or in real time. They laughed. I laughed. After 2 hours of failed pig capture (those buggers are fast), we heard that the vet was no longer arriving!
So more helpers arrived; verge cleaners who were next door, the gardener, me and more local law enforcement. We zigged, the pigs zagged. Pedestrians, made curious by the cars and all the yelling, stopped across the street. Some even stood at our gate. I can imagine how entertaining it must have looked to them as those pigs literally ran for their lives. Gosh, they were so hard to catch! They performed unnatural acts like jumping down a 5-foot wall. Another leapt and scrambled up a wall almost as tall, grazing itself into bleeding that it probably never noticed in its desperation.
It eventually became a battle of who would lose to exhaustion first and if we’d have enough oomph to drive them out from the thorns on the slope at the top of the property… again and again…
Plants got trampled. Everyone got scratched, everyone lost their breath. In between, i handed out juices. Pigs don’t sweat so they had to grab the few seconds they could in mud patches so that they cooled down. But they began to shiver and their oinks grew longer. They were in fear. They would huddle together, laying on top of one another for comfort that was sure to end-
-and it did. As they learned how to hide, we learned how to drive them to a corner where we’d made a net of hessian and poles (from what had been a fence hours earlier). One by one, they got caught quicker and quicker, thrown unceremoniously into a larger bakkie.
There were loud cheers of victory and the shaking of hands when the last one got caught…
…but it felt quite inhuman what we were doing.
I blame the selfish ‘farmers’ who don’t look after their animals or treat their neighbours with respect.
Above all, i blame the Knysna Municipality, directors and politicians, for making by-laws without thought as to how they will be enforced and for not running education and warning campaigns. I blame the Municipality for wasting so many man hours every month when all they have to do is train two officers on how to use a tranquilliser gun… and how to be as kind as possible. I blame them for their years of inaction. Do we have to wait for death in a car crash before they will act?
I do not blame the local law enforcement officers. In fact, i salute them. They did the best they could in difficult circumstances. They read my blog, they know who i am and my criticisms but we were all the same that day. We joked and we panted together. I thank them!
PS: The pigs were taken to George. If the ‘farmer’ wants to claim them, he’ll have to pay an unknown fine and fetch them. That should hopefully be a deterrent. Enough deterrents and we’ll get the animal situation in Knysna under control. The key will be preparation and consistency.
PS2: I stopped for a lunch break whilst composing this blog. It had been literally minutes since i’d mentioned cows as a problem too… and there they were, the most i’ve ever seen, 10 of them walking past our gate and down Grey Street towards Action Ads, cars swerving around them.
PS3: Did you know how awesome pigs are? They as cleverer as some dogs and primates. They can swim (there’s 20 in the Bahamas that can paddle from the shore to passing boats in hope of a treat). It’s a myth that they’re dirty in a bad way. They love mud but that’s just fun and their method of cooling down. They will try shit and piss away from their food. It’s bad farmers who put them in cramped conditions where they can get sick in their own filth. If it wasn’t for them growing so large, i’m sure many more would be pets in great homes instead of bacon for our breakfast.