Arbor Day tree planting disrupted

Arbor Day celebrations came to a stand still yesterday when residents of the Kuyga community dressed in ANC regalia disrupted the event.

Consisting mainly of women, the group blocked the entrance to the Chimaera Street park where 20 trees were meant to be planted as part of an Arbor Day project by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.

Singing struggle songs and chanting “the park is ours”, the angry residents said they had not been properly informed about the event.

Ward 40 ANC chairman Boy Mantewu said the people had learnt of the event through posters.

“We were surprised to see the posters with a DA logo rather than a municipal logo,” Mantewu said.

“Is this a DA event, or a municipal event?” The DA took over Ward 40 from the ANC after the August 3 elections.

An attempt by deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani, of the UDM, to address the group fell on deaf ears as the group refused to listen to him.

“Who are you? Where do you come from and what do you want?” the group shouted.

Officials were forced to postpone the event.

In an interview, mayor Athol Trollip said what had happened was unfortunate.

“This is your park and that is why we are here, to beautify the area.

But if the people don’t want us to plant the trees today, we will store them –but we will plant these trees,” Trollip said.

About 100 Kuyga Primary School pupils arrived at the Arbor Day event only to be told that it had to be postponed.