Snake shock for Gautrain user

21 February 2014 - 11:28 By Penwell Dlamini

A snake has caused three days of uproar at the Gautrain Midrand station.

Brian Mabasa parked his BMW coupe at the station on Tuesday and left for work. On his return, he found police, a snake handler and security guards surrounding his car.

A snake had been spotted by guards on the parking lot and when they gave chase, it hid itself underneath the chassis of Mabasa’s car.

“We tried everything short of stripping the car or setting it alight to get the snake out.  We then resorted, with the help of the police, to pepper spray and that did not work either,” said Andre Prins, a "problem animal handler" who was called to the remove the snake.

After initially being mistaken as a black mamba, Prins identified the reptile as a one-metre long rinkhals (spitting cobra), which is common but venomous.

After hours of failed efforts to remove the snake, until 8.30pm that night, it was decided to leave the car to let the reptile slink off by itself.

Prins said, “We have good reason to believe that the snake has by now left the car”.

But Mabasa is not willing to move his car as no one has confirmed seeing the snake exit.

When The Times visited the station yesterday, two security guards were keeping an eye on the car.

“I am not convinced that the snake is gone. Yesterday [Wednesday], when they called me they said they had seen the snake again,” Mabasa said.

Gautrain executive, Errol Braithwaite, said: “The Gautrain is able to confirm reports that a legless intruder of indeterminate sex gained unauthorised access to the Midrand station parking area from the adjacent veld earlier this week. The intruder was seen to proceed to a parked vehicle and, according to reports, succeeded in hiding him/herself in the body of the vehicle in an apparent attempt to stowaway. The vehicle was surrounded by security staff who, having failed to pursuade the intruder to leave, have quarantined the vehicle”. 

“Specialist negotiators were brought in from the SPCA but the standoff continues.”

Braithwaite said he “condemned the actions of this ’slippery’ customer in the strongest terms”.

“Once apprehended, we shall hand him/her over to the nearest snake farm where we trust that the scales of justice will tilt heavily and the incarceration will be long.”

For now, Mabasa says he is using his other vehicle until he is 100% sure there is no snake in his car.

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