Cannabis

  1. Cannabis grown outside Ramaphosa's office uprooted

    King Khoisan South Africa (bottom L) holds on to a marijuana plant as South African Police Services (SAPS) members drags him as they try to confiscate the plants during a raid at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on January 12, 2022

    South African police have uprooted cannabis plants grown outside the offices of President Cyril Ramaphosa and have arrested their owner - the leader of the Khoisan community.

    King Khoisan, wearing a traditional loincloth, held on to a shoulder-height plant as police dragged it across the presidential lawn in the capital Pretoria.

    King Khoisan South Africa holds on to a marijuana plant as Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) member drags him as they try to confiscate the plants during a raid at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on January 12, 2022

    King Khoisan and a small group of his supporters had been living in tents they had put up at the Union Buildings - the seat of government - since 2018.

    They had vowed to remain at the site until President Ramaphosa met them to discuss their demand for the official recognition of their languages.

    "I am very cross. We've been here since November 2018 and Ramaphosa has never even taken a minute of his time to address or acknowledge our presence. Yet they now bring in police to torment us," the king's wife, Queen Cynthia, was quoted by the local IOL news site as saying.

    Around two dozen officers - some in riot gear, others mounted on horseback and some with sniffer dogs - raided the small group, AFP reports.

    South African Police Services (SAPS) members confiscate marijuana plants during a raid at the camp of King Khoisan South Africa (not pictured) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on January 12, 2022

    "The king tried by all means to prevent the police from taking out the plants but four policemen dragged him out of the garden to the Nelson Mandela statue," Queen Cynthia was quoted by IOL as saying.

    "We've been using dagga for medicinal purposes for a very long time and people come to us when they are sick on a daily basis."

    South Africa's highest court decriminalised cannabis for private and personal use in 2018.

    The Khoisan are South Africa's oldest inhabitants but they say they have often found themselves marginalised and dispossessed.

    You can watch a video about them, by the BBC's Christian Parkinson, here:

    Video content

    Video caption: A guide to Khoisan culture and language
  2. Video content

    Video caption: West Midlands Police see surge in cannabis farms in region

    West Midlands Police say there is a surge in cannabis farms being uncovered during the pandemic.