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Alleged fruit tree poisoning after black children permitted to consume fruit sparks EFF protest

EFF picket in Tokia against what they alleged to be racism. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

EFF picket in Tokia against what they alleged to be racism. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 11, 2021


Cape Town - A group of EFF members demonstrated in front of the City offices in Tokai on Thursday, over what they said was racism, following an incident where black and coloured children allegedly consumed poisoned fruits.

Arthur McKey, a resident, said his fruit trees were poisoned, after he invited children of colour to pick fruits at his garden.

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McKey said he was told that this was attracting the “wrong” kind of people into the suburbs. He said, after he noticed this, he put up a notice board to caution the kids – but this were removed.

The EFF demanded that the City instruct the relevant officials to stop harassing the children from exercising their constitutional right to freedom of movement, lay criminal charges against those poisoning trees in Tokai, and conduct an investigation to stop the fruit tree poisoning in the area.

They also demanded that the City protect the property of McKey, and for the sub council manager to restore the notice boards removed from the property – that cautioned against poisoned fruit from being consumed by residents and passers-by.

Arthur McKey reportedly did not mind that homeless people and children picked the fruit that hung. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

The EFF condemned what it called a selective and racist approach by the City, when incidents of tree poisoning were reported.

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EFF provincial deputy chairperson Nosipho Makamba Botya said the matter was reported to the City and the police to investigate, since the children had been picking and eating poisoned fruits – unaware of the risks. She said this was ignored by the City.

“It has become apparent to the EFF that, in recent months, when incidents of fruit tree poisoning are reported – which threaten the lives of innocent black children – then the City will not act in terms of conducting an investigation and making sure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

“However, in cases where a poison tree bears no fruits and its existence is just for the pleasure of white people,then the City will leave no stone unturned in its quest to investigate and find perpetrators of such an act,” said Botya.

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Videos: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

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Makamba Botya said the guava season had arrived and black children's lives were again at risk of dying from consuming the fruits.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said there have been a number of incidents of tree poisoning, on City land, recorded in the area.

He said the vandalism of trees on City property was an infringement of the City’s by-laws.

“The by-law specifically relates to trees in public places, not private property. For matters related to private property, residents can report incidents to the local SAPS,” Badroodien said.

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Cape Argus