A Tshwane resident has until tomorrow to remove his cabbages from the pavement in front of his house or face being arrested.
Djo Bankuna took to Facebook after he was allegedly almost arrested on 9 September by two armed Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) officials for “illegally” growing cabbages on the pavement in front of his house.
This comes after the TMPD members allegedly said onions, cabbage, and spinach were not permitted. Bankuna was allegedly told Tshwane by-laws only permit grass and flowers outside, not cabbage, onion, and spinach – and if he would not remove his cabbages by tomorrow he will be arrested. Last Thursday Bankuna went to the Tshwane council offices in Wonderpark to inquire about a permit to grow the vegetables on the pavement when the officials laughed him out.
He said in his Facebook post if Tshwane by-laws outlaw the planting of cabbage and onions outside, he would obey it. On Bankuna’s page, he regularly posts about his so-called street garden which he started three years ago.
In March 2021 the street garden reaped 35 pumpkins and 145kg of sweet potato which was donated. TMPD’s Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba was yet to comment. Tshwane MMC for community safety Karen Meyer had little mercy for Bankuna. “A complaint was received. TMPD had to attend to it,” she said. Meyer said they must follow what was indicated in the by-laws.
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She referred to section 8 (1) of the municipal by-laws that state that “road reserve belongs to the municipality”. Meyer said permission must be sought from a landowner before you do anything on someone else’s property. “It is correct to get permission from the council first. The only way to change it is to change the by-law,” she said.
Meyer didn’t want to comment on the garden serving the community and reiterated a complaint was received. Prof Anthony Turton, an Affiliated Professor in the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State, said these questions are becoming relevant as SA slides towards anarchy and disorder.
He said a veggie garden on a sidewalk is of value to a distressed community of mostly unemployed people who resort to self-help to survive. “The manifestation of this as an issue is an indicator of that slide into ungovernability,” Turton said.