CAPE TOWN - The controversial case against the Tshwane man who planted vegetables on the pavement outside his home has been withdrawn.
Djo Ba Nkuna, also known as the “Cabbage Bandit”, shared on social media in September that Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) officers had descended on his home and served him with a notice to appear in court over his use of the municipal property to grow vegetables.
Ba Nkuna said the officers informed him they had received a complaint about his vegetable garden – a garden he says he uses to feed his community.
He was served with a notice to appear in the Wonderboom Municipal Court this month for
“Intentionally interfering with the property of the municipality”.
Ba Nkuna said he was also issued with a fine of R1 500.
However, he said he has since been informed that the case has been withdrawn.
“On (November 17), I received a letter from the Acting Director for Municipal Courts Prosecution notifying me about the withdrawal of the case. This was after I submitted my representations on September 28. Therein I argued that there was no case against me, that I did not break any bylaws by planting cabbage and onions rather than grass and roses. I argued that the municipal amenities bylaw that was cited on my R1 500 fine was irrelevant as there was no such amenity at the corner of my property,” he said.
"Section 195 of our Constitution defines and prescribes the values and principles that public servants may apply in doing their job. In my case, the public servants chose to suspend that area of the law.
“They harassed, victimised and abused my family. What if I did not have access to good legal representation? What if I buckled under such tremendous intimidation and paid the unlawful fine? I would have a criminal record for a lawful act.
“Many powerless and innocent citizens suffer like I did without any legal recourse. Abuse of government administrative power is the ultimate violation of the rights and freedom of citizens,” he said.
Despite the cabbage saga having impacted him and his family, Ba Nkuna said he has put it to rest.
“I do not wish to fight to the death. I could sue and raise a dust storm. But that is not me. I hope that lessons were learned from this saga by all the parties.
“I hope that a new approach can be adopted by the TMPD and the City of Tshwane where citizens are approached cordially and humanely in the spirit of bathopele,” he said.