South African police on Wednesday uprooted several cannabis plants near President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office in Pretoria that were planted by activists from the indigenous Khoisan community, some of whom have camped in the area for three years.
In 2018, the group set up camp on the green space outside the president’s office, near a giant statue of Nelson Mandela, to campaign for the official recognition of their language.
The Khoisans are South Africa’s oldest inhabitants who now form a small minority in the country.
Their leader, King Khoisan, who clung on to a large cannabis plant as police dragged him away shouting, said “Police… you have declared war, we have been here peacefully”. We are coming for you,” he continued.
The police detained King Khoisan and some fellow activists for “dealing in dagga (cannabis), illegal plantation and cultivation of dagga as well as failure to wear a face mask in public when ordered to do so by a police officer,” a statement said.
South Africa decriminalised the use of cannabis in private places in 2018.