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Couple fined for climbing tree

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CAPE ARGUS

The tree climbed by the couple is on Green Point Main Road, between York and Portswood streets. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - A couple have been fined for climbing a tree in Green Point.

The Woodstock couple were fined R50 each for scaling a tree during the excitement of the Cape Town Carnival last month.

The tree is on Green Point Main Road, between York and Portswood streets.

A picture of the fine was posted on Twitter over the weekend by a reporter who had met the tree- climbing couple.

It states that at 11.52pm on March 15 the couple were given a R50 fine for breaking a by-law.

According to openbylaws.org.za, the 2010 by-law reads: “No person other than an authorised official shall, unless permitted by notice, climb a tree growing in a public park or break or damage such tree.”

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said officers would not have fined the couple unless they were misbehaving in a way that damaged the tree.

“Those trees are of variable age and fragility, and people often behave in an inconsiderate manner. The couple wouldn’t have gotten a fine just for climbing a tree.”

Smith said the by-law existed to protect the city against liability claims, and to protect the trees from hooligans.

“Law enforcement will try keep people out of trees, because the city will get blamed if somebody gets harmed.

“It’s also to limit damage to the structure of the tree. People engage in vandalism, stand and rock on branches, break them off and scar them.”

Smith said any peace officer could enforce a by-law, so the fine could have been issued by metro police, police or traffic officers.

However, tree climbers were not high on anybody’s list of perpetrators to catch.

“That is not something they would have been paying attention to – they were probably responding to a complaint,” Smith said.

Smith said not many people were likely to even know about a by-law prohibiting tree climbing, but it was impossible to put a sign up notifying the public about every provision and by-law.

 

The couple could not be reached for comment.

Cape Argus


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