Police Minister Bheki Cele says the officers involved in the forceful evictions that took place in Khayelitsha will be dealt with as their conduct during the operation was unacceptable. Cele has visited the area to meet with the community and Bulelani Qhalani, the man who was evicted with no clothes on while his shack was being broken down.
Four law enforcement officials have been suspended. The city says it had a court order to conduct the evictions but lockdown regulations state that all eviction orders must be stayed until the end of alert level three.
Cele says the Western Cape policing structure must ensure accountability for all those involved.
“As South African police we are working on it and as I’ve said that even if its legitimate the court has granted you permission you are not evicting pigs, you are evicting human beings. You need to behave in a human way but secondly there must be accountability and these structures don’t have any form of accountability here.”
Minister Cele has called for patience as the community of Ethembeni informal area, where the eviction took place, call for swift action against the officers involved.
Cele says a dedicated senior police team has been appointed to investigate the case.
“There is a case here that must be investigated and there is no Cele that is going to spoil the case doing things that he’s not supposed to do, for the fact that we have a team, for the fact that we have a dedicated team, actually I have even instructed that the case of 2018, when the woman was dragged, must be taken by that team, but let’s follow the law,” he says.
In the video below, Minister Cele addresses the community of Khayelitsha:
‘Put the city under administration’
Member of Parliament Hendricks has asked the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to put City of Cape Town under administration for human rights abuses.
He made the submission during a Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Portfolio Commitee meeting on Friday, which continued until the early hours of Sartuday.
In a statement, Hendricks says the two city officials who were fingered by the Chairperson of the Committee as being behind the evictions should be investigated.
“AL JAMA-AH has received complaints from residents in the precinct that there is a cabal of City officials linked to at least two political parties that conduct a reign of terror to protect the R2 billion tender of upgrades to the nearby Zandvliet water treatment plant,” the statement reads.
Hendricks likens the plant to a gas chamber he saw in Austria Hitlers first concentration camp, while admitting that these matters were brought to his attention at the initiative of AL JAM-AH by chemical and environment professors at the universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape.
Hendricks also wanted to know from the Minister of Cogta why city politicians were not arrested for violating her regulation that there be no evictions during lockdown. Hendricks also chastised ANC members of the committee for allegedly calling the man who was seen being manhandled while naked, Bulelani Qolani, an invader.
He has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, requesting a special debate on the Cape Town evictions.
Hendricks hopes for the debate to result in a commission of inquiry into the last 1000 evictions carried out by the City of Cape Town, which he claims were masterminded by the two officials fingered by the Chair of Cogta.
In the video below, Qhalani talks to SABC News about his plight:
Backlash over City officials’ handling of evictions:
Qhalani has opened a case against the City of Cape Town, so has the South African Human Rights Commission and some opposition parties. The City of Cape Town has also established its own probe into the matter.