Tshwane cabbage patch man shares final meal from pavement veg garden before ‘D-day’
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JOHANNESBURG – The Tshwane cabbage patch man who has been threatened with arrest by police authorities in the capital city for his sidewalk vegetable garden has shared his final meal ahead of ‘D-day’.
Facebook user Djo Bankuna took to the social network last week to detail how he was threatened with arrest for his vegetable garden which is on a street-side curb on municipal property.
Tshwane metro police department (TMPD) officers threatened him with arrest and told him he was contravening city by-laws for his vegetable garden, which he started to help his social worker wife who had been buying fruits and vegetables to donate to poor communities in Pretoria.
“Tonight, I am going down with chicken and beetroot spinach. This is the last beetroot spinach from my street harvest.
“Who knows what happens to the cabbage bandit on D-day tomorrow.
“I confirm, no Six Gun treatment on this meal. I treat it with olive oil, pepper, onion, tomato and salt. Street Food is fantastic, but full of troubles,” he said, taking the mickey out of the TMPD who apparently insist he may not continue with the street side veggie garden.
TMPD spokesperson Isaac Mahamba could not be reached yesterday, but, Tshwane’s MMC for community safety Karen Meyer told a local media outlet that they had received a complaint about the garden patch and the officers were acting on the complaint.
“A complaint was received. TMPD had to attend to it,” she told the local media outlet, also insisting that Bankuna needed permission from the municipality to utilise the road reserves.
“It is correct to get permission from the council first. The only way to change it is to change the by-law,” she said.
But when the Tshwane resident descended to the municipal officers of the city, he says he was met with derision and laughter, with officials telling him they were not aware of such a by-law.
So he returned to the city police authorities and insisted on written communication about his garden patch, but instead, he says he was met with anger and that the bottom line was that he could not continue with his cabbage patch.
“I decided to pass via the metro offices in Winternest to give feedback about my failure to secure the cabbage planting permit.
“It was a very bad mistake. Upon arrival at the JMPD offices, my wife and I were rudely ushered straight across the building to the office of the TMPD boss, Mr Elvis Ndlovu.
“The angry metro police office commander insisted that cabbage is not allowed outside, by-law or no by-law.
“He just does not like it, period. Instead of taking me through the by-laws and pointing to the relevant sections relating to my contravention, he got angry.
“Things went bad to worse when I asked him to give me a written notice of my contravention, that is when his oil began to boil. I am told that if I do not remove my cabbage by today , my arrest and jailing is 100% guaranteed.
“I guess I will be the first cabbage bandit in Gauteng,” Bankuna said.
He wrote on Facebook that he would not put up a fight against the authorities, but he did remind them that the cabbage patch was actually feeding poor communities.
“I did not want to plant vegetables. I planted grass and roses.
“I planted vegetables and ended in trouble with the law because of her.
“My wife is a professional social worker and she does voluntary work in the Soshanguve area.
“She has a habit of taking things to help the people that she comes across in her work. She takes vegetables, clothes, books and whatever she can find to assist in the various situations that she comes across.
“I planted the vegetable garden to assist her cause and also save money at the fruit and veg till.
“I also discovered that the vegetables last longer and remain fresh when planted as they are only harvested when required.
“I started with the now troublesome corner patch on impulse, when I discovered that 20 roses I wanted to plant were R180 each.
“I then switched to crops which were much cheaper at R15/pack of seeds. Also, the road reserve gets excellent sunlight than the inside the yard where there is too much shade.
“The garden was so successful that last summer I moved across the park side where I planted mealies, pumpkin and other crops.
“From the park side, I had to clear grass that was more than a metre tall.
“I had no complaint from Mr Pieter Dicks, Tshwane Parks Manager, for removing the tall grass and planting 60m² of food.
“My neighbours eat here, my family eat here, the recyclers on bin Thursday eat here and my people in Soshanguve eat here. Free. On top of that, I get a free workout,” he said.
“But if our TMPD insists on their dislike of my garden, I will chop it all. There is no need for a fight to the death.
“Yes, I am a coward. I would rather spend my energy and money paying my son’s varsity fees and parents medical bills than pay legal fees.
“Sometimes, you must let power win to live,” he said.