JOHANNESBURG – A Tshwane cabbage patch man who was threatened by police authorities in the capital for arrest over his sidewalk vegetable garden shared his last meal before “D-day”.
Facebook user Djo Bankuna took to the social network last week to detail how he was threatened with arrest for his street-side botanical garden on municipal property.
Officers of the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) threatened him with arrest and told him he was violating city bylaws for his botanical garden, which he began helping his social worker wife who was buying fruits and vegetables to donate to poor communities in Pretoria.
“Tonight, I’m going with chicken and beetroot spinach. This is the last beetroot spinach from street harvest.
“Who knows what will happen to the wrapped bandits on D-day tomorrow.
“I stress, there’s no Six Gun cure on this meal. I treat it with olive oil, pepper, onion, tomato, and salt. Street food is great, but it’s full of problems,” he said, pulling out Mickey from TMPD who apparently insists he might not last with the vegetable garden on the side. street.
TMPD spokesperson Isaac Mahamba could not be reached yesterday but, Karen Meyer of Tshwane Community Safety, told local media that they had received a complaint about the park patch and officers were acting on the complaint.
“A complaint has been received. TMPD had to bring it in,” she told local media, also insisting that Bankuna needed permission from the municipality to tap into the road reserves.
It is correct to get permission from the council first. And the only way to change it is to change the regulation.”
But when a resident of Tshwane came down to the city’s municipal officials, he said he was met with ridicule and laughter, as officials told him they were unaware of this bylaw.
So he went back to the city police authorities and insisted on written communication about his garden patch, but instead said he was met with anger and that the bottom line was that he couldn’t continue on his cabbage patch.
“I decided to pass through the metro offices in Winternest to give my feedback about my failure to obtain a permit to grow cabbage.
“It was a very bad mistake. Upon arriving at the JMPD offices, my wife and I were rudely directed straight across the building to the office of the head of TMPD, Mr. Elvis Ndlovu.
An angry metro police bureau chief insisted that cabbage is not allowed outside, with or without regulations.
“He just doesn’t like it, period. Instead of taking me through regulations and pointing out relevant sections of the offense, he got angry.
“Things got worse when I asked him to give me written notice of his violation, that’s when the oil started to boil. I was told that if I didn’t remove my cabbage by today, my arrest and imprisonment were 100% guaranteed.
“I think I will be the first Gauteng-wrapped thief,” Bancona said.
He wrote on Facebook that he would not take a fight against the authorities, but reminded them that the cabbage patch was actually feeding poor communities.
I didn’t want to grow vegetables. I planted weeds and roses.
“I planted vegetables and ended up in trouble with the law because of it.
“My wife is a professional social worker and does volunteer work in the Sochangov region.
“She has a habit of taking things to help the people she encounters in her work. She takes vegetables, clothes, books and anything she can find to help in the different situations she faces.
“She planted the vegetable garden to help her cause and also save money on tilling fruits and vegetables.
“I also discovered that vegetables last longer and stay fresh when grown as they are only harvested when needed.
“I started with the annoying corner patch now on the rush, when I found out that the 20 roses I wanted to plant were R180 each.
Then I switched to crops that were much cheaper at R15/seed tray. Also, the road reserve gets excellent sunlight from inside the yard where there is plenty of shade.
“The garden was so successful that last summer I moved across the side of the park where I planted gourds, pumpkin, and other crops.
“From the park side, I had to remove the grass that was over a meter high.
“I had no complaints from Mr Peter Dix, Director of Tchwane Gardens, for removing the tall grass and planting 60 square meters of food.
“My neighbors eat here, my family eats here, the recyclers at Ben Thursday eat here and my folks in Suchangov eat here. Free. On top of that, I get a free workout.
“But if our TMPD insists that they hate my garden, I will chop it all up. There is no need to fight to the death.
“Yes, I’m a coward. I’d rather spend my energy and money paying college fees and parents’ medical bills than paying legal fees.
“Sometimes you have to let power win out in order to live,” he said.