09/04/2013 A dagga tree, growing on the grownds of the Prtesidential Guesthouse neat the Union Buildings, is growing recent cleaning up f the area. Picture: John Makoni

Pretoria -

A dagga bush is growing along the boundaries of the presidential guest house in Pretoria.

And officials from a city improvement organisation say it is evidently being allowed to grow because the ground around it has recently been cleared.

The bush, which has freshly turned soil and almost no weeds around it, leans against one of the two security fences near the Stanza Bopape (Church) Street security fences of the Sefako Mapogo Makgatho Residence.

On Tuesday, members of the public, who had noticed the bush between the fences, said it had suddenly stood out after the piece of land was cleared two months ago.

“Judging from its height and the lushness of the leafs, one can tell that the bush has been there for a while. It is obvious that the people working there know about it,” said a passer-by who asked to remain anonymous.

He said the piece of land bordering the guest house and between the inner and outer fences had become overgrown and “quite messy” over the Christmas holidays.

“The groundsmen did a good job of clearing the place and removing all the unsightly weeds, but they left this one standing,” he added.

While presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj expressed shock at the idea of the illegal, addictive and intoxicating drug growing near the guest house, he referred all enquiries to the Department of Public Works, whose responsibility it is to take care of the grounds.

The department’s spokesman, Thamsanqa Mchunu, confirmed the department’s responsibility to care for the grounds, but said no one was allowed to cultivate a drug on the property.

“It should have been cut down,” he said, before adding that he would get information and clarification on the existence of the bush from horticulturists.

Mchunu could not say if anyone would be held responsible for the bush’s cultivation.

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