Police Threaten ‘Cabbage Bandit’ To Stop Planting Vegetables On Pavement
A man who has been dubbed the ‘cabbage bandit’ claims to have been threatened by police for planting vegetables on a pavement in South Africa.
Djo BaNkuna, of Theresa Park, used the pavement outside his home to create a vegetable garden after vowing to assist his wife in helping people in need.
Despite only wanting to do good, BaNkuna later took to Facebook to claim Tshwane police officers had threatened him with arrest over the vegetable garden, stating the growing of vegetables was not allowed, and that only flowers or grass were permitted on the pavement.
BaNkuna claimed to have sought permission from city officials to continue growing the vegetables, but said he ended up being laughed at and told no such permission was required or granted, IOL reports.
In a post shared on Facebook on Tuesday, BaNkuna said about 16 police officers arrived at his home and served him two documents, one of which charged him with ‘intentionally interfere in any manner to the property of the Municipality’ by planting cabbage outside at the corner, and another which issued ‘the maximum fine of R1500 to be paid within 30 days and permanent criminal record for planting cabbage and onions.’
BaNkuna told Pretoria News that the section of law the police were using to charge him did not prevent him from planting vegetables.
In response to claims, Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said BaNkuna’s alleged threats of arrest were a story he had fabricated on social media, and that the department had no knowledge of the threats.
Mahamba said BaNkuna would be fined for obstructing a road traffic sign, but that there would be no reason to arrest the so-called ‘cabbage bandit’.
The spokesperson said: ‘Unless we issue him with a traffic fine and he refuses to identify himself, he might be detained for certain hours, but he won’t be arrested for failing to remove those vegetables. In this case he obstructed the sidewalk by planting vegetables on the street reserved.’
BaNkuna has vowed not to pay the fine or remove his vegetable garden, and instead plans to defend himself in court.
On Facebook, he wrote that society must ‘change the outlook and attitude towards food security and hunger’, adding: ‘The road is long, but enlightenment is at the horizon. We must not give up, no matter what we face. Thank you for the support, prayers and your offer of assistance. Remember: You buy a vegetable and you feed a family, you cultivate a garden you feed a community. I am not afraid.’
In response to the social media post, BaNkuna received a wealth of support from people praising the cabbage patch.
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