Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she will go to court over the City of Cape Town’s handling of an eviction in Khayelitsha, during which a naked man was manhandled by law enforcement officers.
Video footage of the incident sparked a public outcry.
The Minister’s Spokesperson Yonela Diko says the City acted outside the law.
“They cannot be evicted without alternative accommodation that should be found and secondly now we are on lockdown and the rules are very clear that people should not be evicted, so the Minister felt that because we spoke to the City of Cape Town about this, we’ve had engagement that there is nothing in law that empowers any state institution to humiliate people to take away their dignity even law enforcement, so the Minister is really incensed that’s why we taking this route of going to court.”
The Human Rights Commission in the Western Cape and opposition parties have laid a charge against the Metro for allegedly being in contempt of Disaster Management Regulations on evictions.
In the video below, Yonela Diko is being interviewed:
Community members and local political formations marched to a local police station to vent their anger following the incident. They say the city had no right to evict people during the lockdown.
Leader of opposition in the City, African National Congress’ Xolani Sotashe says they have laid charges for the violation of a court order and the disaster management regulations.
Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen says they are investigating human rights abuses. “The human rights of Bulelani (Qolani) were completely violated, they disgraced him. They literally stripped him of his dignity, and we are saying this is the case for the Equality Court, we will investigate.”
A community leader, Ayanda Tetani, has accused the City of Cape Town of targeting the poor. “The reason we are here is the way the city of Cape Town is treating us here in the province, we feel that they are not respecting us as poor people especially the blacks, they are violating our rights as you see what happened with the people of Ethembeni.”
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Machwene Semenya, has also denounced the law enforcement officers’ actions. Semenya says the actions of the city are inhumane and inconsiderate considering that it’s winter.
She also described the eviction of the naked man, unwarranted, cruel and repulsive.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato has apologised for the incident, while welcoming the suspension of the four officials.
“That is not how they should have reacted. On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I want to apologise to that person. That was indeed inhuman, we have suspended four officers. A full investigation is already under way by senior officers. It is a fact that the land is earmarked for municipal services, for bulk infrastructure.”
In the video below, a charge is laid against the City of Cape Town: