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Pretoria man threatened with arrest for planting cabbage instead of flowers on pavement

Man growing cabbage/ FB
Man growing cabbage/ FB

By: Poelano Malema

A Pretoria man has been threatened with arrest by Metro Police officers. His crime? Planting vegetables instead of grass or flowers on his pavement.

Djo BaNkuna took to social media to talk about the horrific experience he received from police because of his vegetable garden.

“On Thursday (09/08/2021) at 9am, two Metro Police officers came to my home and threatened me with arrest. My sin was to plant vegetables instead of grass and flowers on my pavement,” he wrote on Facebook.

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He says police told him that “Tshwane by-laws only permit grass and flowers outside, not cabbage, onion and spinach.”

BaNkuna says he was told to apply to the City Council to get permission to plant vegetables on the pavement.

“I was instructed to apply at the city council for the permission to plant vegetables outside or replace my veggies with grass/roses or nothing. I did not argue. Today (10/08/2021) at 9:30am, I complied, and there I was trying to file a cabbage planting application at the Tshwane council offices in Wonderpark,” he wrote.

Sadly, his application failed as there is no permit for such.

“Needless to say the council’s land-use and by-laws section have not heard of such a by-law or permit. It does not exist. After so much laughter, Johan and Vincent sent me away empty handed without a permit. I decided to pass via the Metro offices in Winternest to give feedback about my failure to secure the cabbage planting permit. Yerrrr! It was a very bad mistake. Upon arrival at the JMPD offices, my wife and I were rudely ushered straight across the building to the office of the TMPD boss, Mr Elvis Ndlovu,” he wrote on Facebook.

“The angry Metro Police Office Commander insisted that cabbage is not allowed outside, by-law or no by-law. He just does not like it, period. Instead of taking me through the by-laws and pointing to the relevant sections relating to my contravention, he angered up. Things went bad to worse when I asked him to give me a written notice of my contravention, that is when his oil began to boil. I am told that if I do not remove my cabbage by Tuesday 14/09/2021, my arrest and jailing is 100% guaranteed. I guess I will be the first Cabbage Bandit in Gauteng,” he added.

“I am a law abiding citizen. If Tshwane by-laws outlaw the planting of cabbage and onions outside, I will obey it. If it is written in black and white, I will not say more but kill that cabbage. But I am NOT going to destroy my food based on a spiritual by-law or Commander Ndlovu’s dislike of cabbage and onions. He is the Metro Police boss at the Winternest office, I respect that, but that does not make his hatred of cabbage the law. So, jail it is for me on Tuesday,” he said.

READ: Subsistence farming: Start with a vegetable garden before asking for land

Feeding the less privileged

Djo BaNkuna says he started planting cabbage to help feed the less privileged in Soshanguve, who are his wife’s patients.

“My wife is a professional social worker, and she does voluntary work in the Soshanguve area. She has a habit of taking things to help the people that she comes across in her work. She takes vegetables, clothes, books and whatever she can find to assist in the various situation that she comes across.

“I planted the vegetable garden to assist her cause and also save money at the Fruit & Veg till,” he wrote.

Image courtesy of Facebook/ @Djo BaNkuna

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