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Garden for aged destroyed

Polly Letswalo, the coordinator of Bahlamedi Elderly Group, surveys the scene of the destruction.
Polly Letswalo, the coordinator of Bahlamedi Elderly Group, surveys the scene of the destruction.
Image: Thulani Mbele

A Pretoria ward councillor has been accused of "intentionally" destroying an old age day care centre vegetable garden and protective wall in Atteridgeville.

This after a bulldozer, allegedly ordered by local councillor Makopo Makola, broke down the wall surrounding the garden belonging to 36 elderly people at Bahlamedi Elderly Group, destroying all vegetables in it.

According to the coordinator of the elderly centre, Polly Letswalo, they have been running the vegetable garden since 1994.

She said they were shocked to find their wall destroyed last month.

"We asked the councillor, but he said he knew nothing. We called the local waste management office to enquire who sent the bulldozer, and they said the bulldozer was not assigned to destroy the garden," Letswalo said.

She said they discovered the bulldozer was re-assigned by Makola to break down the wall.

Makola said the garden was destroyed by mistake.

He said the bulldozer was brought in to remove a heap of rubbish but mistakenly broke down the wall and destroyed the garden.

He said it was decided in a community meeting that the spot where the illegal dumping was should be converted into an access road, and the intention was not to destroy the garden or the wall.

"Before I could engage the elderly, the community had made a decision about the road and destroyed the garden," Makola said.

Samuel Baloyi, 84, said they were devastated and left without fresh vegetables.

"Everything we worked for has been destroyed. We built the wall with contributions from elderly people. Now it is gone and the residents stole our bricks," Baloyi said.

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