Tshwane 'Cabbage Bandit’ to challenge metro police’s R1 500 fine in court
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JOHANNESBURG: Tshwane Metro Police officers have formally charged the “cabbage bandit” Djo Ba Nkuna, who planted vegetables on the side of the road to help his wife feed poor communities in the capital city.
According to an update from Nkuna’s Facebook page, he was served on Tuesday with a notice to appear at the Wonderboom Municipal Court, on November 23.
Nkuna has been at loggerheads with Tshwane Metro Police officers, for a little under a week, after they received a complaint about his vegetable garden.
He was threatened with arrest if he did not desist with his cabbage patch activities, as they were against the by-laws in the City of Tshwane.
He was also told by officers to seek permission from the City of Tshwane to continue with his cabbage patch, but when he did so, he said officials laughed at him and told him they were not aware of such a by-law.
But, on Tuesday, the battle over the cabbage patch took a legal turn, as the police served him with a notice to appear in court, for allegedly interfering with municipal property.
Officers had given the cabbage patch enthusiast until Tuesday to clear the area, in line with City of Tshwane by-laws.
Nkuna wrote on Facebook: “The might of the law has been unleashed upon me.
“At around midday, four TMPD police cars convoyed to my place (two vans and two sedans).
“I was served with a notice to appear at the Wonderboom Municipal Court on November 23, 2021.
“I am charged with ’intentionally interfering in any manner to the property of the Municipality’ by planting vegetables outside,” he said.
He continued: “I am fined R1 500, to be paid within 30 days, and a criminal record if I admit to planting the cabbages and onions.
“I choose the court option. Thank you for all your support. The walk is very long.”
TMPD spokesperson Isaac Mahamba confirmed the officers had fined Nkuna R1500, but he disputes that officers served him with a notice to appear in court.
“As the department, we know nothing about the notice of him appearing in court in November and we distance ourselves from those fabricated stories. They're no nearer to the truth, and we did not serve him with such notice. Mr Nkuna went to social media and created the impression that we are harassing him, and made allegations that he is being threatened – which is not the case. He was handled professionally by members who attended to this complaint and warned him verbally that he should comply, by not obstructing the road reserved for pedestrians
“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.
Despite saying Nkuna had fabricated the story that he had been charged by TMPD officers, Mahamba conceded that if he did not pay the fine, he could approach the courts for relief, and the fine indicated the date and courtroom in which this could be done.