EFF cries racism over poisoned tree in Cape Town suburb

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EFF protesters picketing in Tokai, Cape Town amid racism allegations.
EFF protesters picketing in Tokai, Cape Town amid racism allegations.
PHOTO: Twitter/EFF Western Cape
  • A group of EFF protesters are picketing in Tokai over the alleged poisoning of a fruit tree.
  • The party claims the tree was poisoned to prevent black children from eating the fruit.
  • The poisoning has been reported to local police.

EFF supporters staged a picket in Tokai on Thursday, amid racism allegations in which a fruit tree stands at the centre.

They are protesting against the alleged poisoning of the fruit tree, from which "black and coloured children were picking fruit", said EFF spokesperson Wandile Kasibe.

The tree, which overhangs a home's wall in Myrtle Street, was allegedly poisoned after a neighbouring homeowner requested it be cut back to prevent "unwanted people in the area", Kasibe said.

"This is the highest form of racism – poisoning trees to prevent black children from eating from them. It’s deliberately putting the lives of these children at risk. South Africa has a history of food poisoning in black areas under apartheid," Kasibe added.

According to an interview with Cape Talk, the homeowner allowed passers-by to pick fruit from the trees on the edge of his property. He reportedly said neighbours had complained that this had attracted "the wrong kind of people" to the area, which motivated them to poison his trees.

He told Cape Talk that a series of acts of vandalism had killed trees on his property, including a guava tree in November last year.

READ | Why the EFF is calling for an investigation into Brackenfell SAPS

Kirstenhof police spokesperson Sergeant Deidre Solomon confirmed the matter had been reported. She said a case of malicious damage to property and theft had been registered, but that the case had since been withdrawn.

Ward councillor Penny East said the issue had first been raised last year, after signage appeared on the wall of the house in Myrtle Street.

Anonymous threats

This signage, which claimed the tree had been poisoned, was later removed.

According to Kasibe, the owner of the tree has been receiving anonymous threats.

He also said local councillors and the City of Cape Town had failed to address the issue, even though it had been raised with them.

East said the allegations of poisoning were never reported to the City of Cape Town, and there was no official record of any complaint being laid.

She said:

It’s most unfortunate that things have escalated to this level. I’ve advised residents to stay calm and leave space for the protesters. I’ve asked them not to engage the protesters because we don’t want emotions to become involved.

"We also need to be mindful that this is an election year and that there may be some politicking."

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