Video footage showing City of Cape Town law enforcement officials violently evicting a naked Khayelitsha man from his home has caused much furore and shock. The incident took place on Wednesday, July 1 and mirrors an incident in 2018, when a topless woman was evicted from her home with the community watching.
“The City has been made aware of video footage concerning law enforcement officials in Khayelitsha and a resident today while they were on duty in the area. We are in the process of suspending four staff members involved in the incident pending the outcome of the investigation. The suspension also ensures that staff are not targeted while on duty. We are saddened by the conduct depicted on the video footage, and we do not condone any forceful and dehumanising conduct by our staff members,” said the City’s Executive Director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman.
“The City takes these allegations very seriously, and while our staff are subjected to very challenging circumstances while carrying out anti-land invasion operations, which are to protect land earmarked for housing opportunities and other services, we will not condone violence of any nature by law enforcement staff. I have asked for the facts to be gathered as a matter of urgency and that the investigation is concluded without delay,” Bosman added.
Bosman says the land in question belongs to the City and they have conducted various operations to prevent illegal land occupation. After the removal of illegally built structures, new attempts are made to invade areas again on a daily basis.
“The land is earmarked for installation of services to serve the broader community in the area. There is an interdict in place as well as a recent court order which allows only 49 households to temporarily remain on the land until after the lockdown. The City must also maintain this recent court order, which the community is aware of,” Bosman added.
It is alleged that protestors showed up at the home of the City’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, at 3am on Thursday [July 2]. They arrived in taxis, blocked roads and demanded answers about the harrowing incident that stripped the man and his community of their dignity.
“There was a protest,” Smith confirmed.
The incident has sparked a number of other protests. The Khayelitsha CAN organisation announced they will march to the home of Malusi Booi.
“On Wednesday [July 1], the City of Cape Town’s Anti Land Invasion Unit – assisted by its law enforcement – demolished four homes despite a moratorium on evictions during the lockdown. They also did this in the most dehumanising manner towards poor black people. Tonight, we are visiting MayCo Member Malusi Booi’s house to demand answers regarding who ordered these illegal evictions and on what mandate they acted on,” the organisation said.
The entire Makhaza community has also said they will be marching against the “inhuman treatment” they received. The protest will take place at 10am on Thursday, July 2 and will begin at the Makhaza taxi rank.
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Picture: Eviction Lawyers South Africa