Police allegedly threaten ‘Cabbage Bandit’ with arrest over planting vegetables on pavement

South Africa: A so-called ‘Cabbage Bandit’ allegedly has been threatened by authorities for planting vegetables on a pavement. 

Credits: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Djo BaNkuna, a resident of Theresa Park, South Africa, decided to use the pavement outside his home and plant a small vegetable garden. As Unilad reports, this was a part of his benevolent plan to assist his wife in helping people in need.

However, the police apparently did not agree with BaNkuna’s idea to do good and threatened him with arrest instead.

According to a Facebook post published by the Cabbage Bandit himself, local police officers had warned him he might end up in jail, stating that growing vegetables on the pavement was not allowed.

“The might of the law has been unleashed upon me and my cabbage patch.”

BaNkuna explains:

I was served two documents: (1) with a Criminal Procedures Act Notice to Appear at the Wonderboom Municipal Court on 23/11/2021. I am charged with: “intentionally interfere in any manner to the property of the Municipality” by planting cabbage outside at the corner (exact quote).

(2) I am Issued the maximum fine of R1500 to be paid within 30 days and permanent criminal record for planting cabbage and onions. No by-law cited.”

As per IOL, the South African man also claimed to have sought permission from city officials to continue with his vegetable garden, but all they did was laugh at his unusual request.

Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson says BaNkuna’s claims were made up. 

Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba has commented that the Cabbage Bandit claims of alleged arrest threats were a fabricated social media story. While BaNkuna would probably be fined for obstructing a road traffic sign, the spokesperson notes there would be no reason for him to be detained.

Mahamba clarifies:

“Unless we issue him with a traffic fine and he refuses to identify himself, he might be detained for certain hours, but he won’t be arrested for failing to remove those vegetables. In this case he obstructed the sidewalk by planting vegetables on the street reserved.”

Credits: Facebook

Nevertheless, BaNkuna has vowed not to pay the fine or remove his small vegetable garden outside his property. He declares:

“The Cabbage Bandit chooses the option of going to defend ourselves in court…

We must change the outlook and attitude towards food security and hunger. The road is long, but enlightenment is at the horizon. We must not give up, no matter what we face.”

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