MEMBERS of the EFF picket in Tokia against what they alleged to be racism. Last year a fruit tree was poisoned by a spiteful passerby after complaints that it attracted the wrong crowd. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
MEMBERS of the EFF picket in Tokia against what they alleged to be racism. Last year a fruit tree was poisoned by a spiteful passerby after complaints that it attracted the wrong crowd. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Poisoning of trees leads to EFF protest in Tokai

By Siyabonga Kalipa Time of article published Jun 10, 2021

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Cape Town - Members of the EFF have staged a picket in Tokai over alleged racism.

The picket comes after a resident, Arthur Mckey, alleged that his fruit tree was poisoned because children of colour picked the fruit that fell from the tree.

“I was told I was attracting the wrong type of people into our upmarket suburb… I asked what he meant by the wrong type of people,” he said.

Mckey said he has lived in Tokai for 46 years on and off and the suburb was the most racist suburb in South Africa.

He said he had to put up a notice board around his property which warned people of what was happening and offered a reward to anyone who had information.

“It was a cry for help because I’m almost 76 years old,” said Mckey.

However, another resident, Nick Pool, said the protest is not interesting to him because at the end of the day it is not what residents want and that is not how they want to project their suburb.

“Yes, it is organised but is it something we really want in our community?” said Pool.

He said that for him personally there was no racial incident he was aware of. He believed they had more police than protesters and the matter could have been resolved differently.

Deputy chairperson of the EFF Nosipho Makamba Boty said they decided to picket to show that racism is rife in Tokai and it should stop.

She said there was an incident where black children passing the property used to pick fruit and someone decided to poison the tree.

“The City of Cape Town did nothing about that incident but when a tree from the area was seen to be dying they launched an investigation suspecting the tree to be poisoned and it was on a front page of a local newspaper,” she said.

In response, the City’s Mayco member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said vandalism of trees on City property is an infringement of the City’s by-laws and there have been a number of incidents of tree poisoning on City land in areas including Durbanville, Meadowridge and Kenilworth.

“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 a tree or plant that’s been poisoned will die suddenly and typically show signs of deterioration within 1-3 weeks. Symptoms may include wilting, dry and yellowing leaves. These could be observed in part of or around the entire plant.

“Some poisons are toxic for humans if touched or consumed. Soil and groundwater may also be polluted if the poison is applied to the soil. However, the health risks are relatively low for humans if they do not come into direct contact with the poison.”

He urged members of the public who may have any information on the poisoning of trees to send an email to the City Arborist at [email protected] or call the City’s emergency number by phoning 107 from a landline, or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

Weekend Argus

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