Tshwane resident Djo Bankuna with his cabbage patch. Officers in Tshwane say he is contravening bylaws.
Tshwane resident Djo Bankuna with his cabbage patch. Officers in Tshwane say he is contravening bylaws.

I am not afraid, says cabbage man as he prepares to take veg garden fight to court

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Sep 16, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Tshwane resident who has become known as the “cabbage Bandit” says he is not afraid as he prepares to take his fight with the Tshwane Metro Police over a pavement vegetable garden to court.

Djo Ba Nkuna, who planted vegetables on the side of the road to help his wife in feeding poor communities in the capital city, has been slapped with a R1500 fine by Metro Police after he failed to clear the garden by Tuesday.

The Tshwane Metro Police confirmed they had fined Nkuna for “interfering with municipality property” earlier this week.

Taking to Facebook, where Nkuna has been documenting his battle with the authorities, he said five vehicles – three police sedans and two vans – and 16 police officers served him with a fine and a notice to appear at the Wonderboom Municipal Court in November.

“I am charged with: "intentionally interfere in any manner to the property of the Municipality" by planting cabbage outside at the corner.

“I am Issued the maximum fine of R1500 to be paid within 30 days and a permanent criminal record for planting cabbage and onions. No by-law cited,” he said.

He said he would be defending himself in court.

“Whatever happens there, a Section 27(1)(b) Constitutional Constitutional Court application is also a reality.

“We must change the outlook and attitude towards food security and hunger.

“The road is long, but enlightenment is at the horizon. We must not give up, no matter what we face,” he said.

Nkuna added: “Remember: You buy a vegetable, and you feed a family, you cultivate a garden, you feed a community. I am not afraid”.

Earlier this week, TMPD spokesperson Isaac Mahamba confirmed the officers had fined Nkuma R1500, but he disputed that officers served him with a notice to appear in court.

“The action that we are taking or we took today, he was issued with a traffic fine as he is obstructing the sidewalk, and according to Road Traffic Act 96 of 1996, no one is allowed to obstruct the sidewalk as is meant to be used by pedestrians.

“The city, under the Urban Management Department, who are responsible for maintaining parks, are attending to this issue as he planted vegetables in the city park, and therefore, they are unable to clean or cut grass due to his vegetables that are planted in the park,” said Mahamba.

Mahamba would not be drawn to commenting further on the matter.

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