South African police demolish a cannabis garden that had been growing for over three years outside President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office. A Khoisan leader is apprehended while clinging to a shoulder-height cannabis plant that police are dragging across Pretoria’s presidential lawn.
South African police uprooted cannabis plants Wednesday from indigenous activists camped outside President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office for more than three years, AFP reported.
Their leader, dressed in a traditional loincloth, clung to a shoulder-high plant as police dragged it across Pretoria’s presidential grass before arresting him.
The Khoisan were previously referred to as Bushmen or Hottentots, a term coined by Dutch settlers in the 17th century to describe their languages’ clicks.
Another activist yelled at the police during the raid in Afrikaans, asking them: “For plants? For plants? You are rubbish people in uniforms.
Since 2018, when the group launched a campaign for formal recognition of their languages, their tarpaulin tents have been a permanent fixture on the emerald lawns of the South African president’s office.
One of the tents is only a few metres (yards) from a massive bronze statue of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president.
Around two dozen law enforcement officers invaded the small group, some wearing riot gear, others positioned on horseback, and some accompanied by sniffer dogs.
Police did not respond to AFP’s request for comment, but journalists on the scene heard police on the scene say the raid was in response to cannabis planted in the activists’ vegetable garden 6 months ago.
In 2018, South Africa’s highest court decriminalized private and personal use of cannabis in a landmark case pitting law enforcement agencies against proponents of the plant, locally referred to as dagga.