The bankrupt Tshwane municipality (a status shared by most of the municipalities in this country) is sitting on a goldmine just waiting to be unearthed.
No, this does not entail doing actual work, such as collecting rates and taxes, or unpaid electricity bills, or unsettled traffic fines. Neither does it mean that municipalities will have to confront the residents of townships (the voters), who have a persistent culture of non-payment for services. It is something much simpler than that.
The name of the untapped goldmine is “Bylaw.” The treasure the mine will yield, generated by the fines when these laws are enforced, is just sitting there for the taking.
Just imagine: someone dumping an empty Heineken beer bottle a park; or throwing litter on the pavement; or urinating in public, is issued a fine! A Litter-free generation in our time! Who will issue these fines, and how will these bylaw-enforcers be paid, you ask? I’ll get back to that; but first, let’s look at the problem (challenge?) of urinating in public.
After observing black men frequently urinating in all sorts of public places, I did some research into this strange behaviour exhibited by my black brothers.
First off, I decided to go the source of urine – the kidneys. Here I found that the urine-forming unit is called the nephron; a coiled tubule with complicated twists and turns, too small to be seen by the naked eye. Each human kidney contains approximately one million nephrons. Black men have the same amount of nephrons as everyone else, so this was not the answer.
In humans, about one-fourth of the blood pumped by the heart per minute, passes through, and is filtered by the kidneys. Approximately 1 600 litres of blood flow through the kidneys daily, but only about a thousandth of this is converted into urine. Again, black men have the same heart rate and metabolism as all of us. So on with the research.
Humans lose approximately a litre of water daily in urine; or about two percent of their weight. Black men do not seem dehydrated, nor do they consume excessive amounts of fluid, so, another dead end.
Scavenging red foxes leave urine to convey messages to one another. A urine mark, left at a site by a fox, tells another fox that no food is left nearby. Unless the remaining food odour is very strong, the second fox will search for food elsewhere; without investigating this urine-marked location.
Among mammals, many males have scent glands that secrete odorous substances that attract females. For example, deer rub their hind legs, which contain scent glands, against trees. Other animals, including female dogs, have sexual attractants in their urine.
The female cockroach secretes pheromones that attract males from considerable distances. The use of pheromones has been demonstrated in insects and mammals. They act as signals for reproductive behaviour.
The distant detection by a dog of a bitch “in heat” is an example of sex-attracting pheromones. Because I have never heard of a woman rushing over to mate with a urinating black man, this hypothesis was also rejected.
The pangolin, or scaly anteater, will spray urine on a persistent intruder as a means of defence. Black men do not seem to be threatened by the walls, trees, or poles against which they relieve themselves, and so this theory was soon discarded.
In early pregnancy, increased urinary frequency is common; due to pressure of the enlarging uterus on the bladder. Here again, I found that black men rarely, if ever, fall pregnant; so I moved on to explore further possibilities.
Decreased muscle tone in the pelvic floor muscles, bladder, and urethra can result in urine leakage and the need to urinate frequently. Unfortunately, most of the urinators looked fairly fit and healthy. Another theory bites the dust.
In nature, in heavily populated areas, density-limiting forces arise from within a population. Fighting increases, adults may kill juveniles of other families when nest sites are too close, or they may actually cannibalise any juvenile they encounter. (This, being South Africa, sounded like I was finally on the right track!)
In heavily populated areas, a male, a mated pair, a group or a colony, will exclude all other member of their species. The exclusion may be carried out by urine boundary markers or by vocalisations, such as occur with songbirds or howler monkeys. Because ordinary people do not flee for their lives from urinating black men, I realised that density-limiting forces were not at play here.
Finally, in desperation, I thought the problem of urinating in public might be a tradition of the black people of our country; but soon realised that black women were never guilty of breaking this BYLAW. There, back again at the goldmine!
Who will enforce bylaws? Why not the urinators? They seem to be bold enough – and as payment for their services, they get to keep, say, twenty percent of all fines they issue.
As for the reason why black men urinate all over the place? I have no idea; the search goes on.