Sack errant Cape Town city officials

Bulelani Qholani outside the Cape Town Civic Centre on July 2 2020. The actions of the city officials involved in his humiliating eviction demonstrated an abuse of power, a gross violation of his human rights and an inability to comprehend their responsibilities within acceptable norms of law enforcement, the writer says.
Bulelani Qholani outside the Cape Town Civic Centre on July 2 2020. The actions of the city officials involved in his humiliating eviction demonstrated an abuse of power, a gross violation of his human rights and an inability to comprehend their responsibilities within acceptable norms of law enforcement, the writer says.
Image: Newzroom Afrika

On Wednesday, our nation watched in horror as a naked man was dragged out of his shack in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, and shoved around by law enforcement officers who were evicting his community from the area.

Bulelani Qholani was taking a bath when officials sent by the City of Cape Town barged in, demanding that he leave the property.

They allegedly refused to give him time to get dressed.

They threw him out of the shack in front of scores of community members filming the humiliating incident.

The officers allegedly pepper- sprayed and assaulted him as he tried to push his way back into the shack.

Frightened, his children ran out, his belongings destroyed in the scuffle and most important, his dignity was stripped.

The disturbing video went viral, sparking nationwide condemnation for the law enforcement officers.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato has apologised for the incident, saying the actions of the officers would not be tolerated.

The four officers have since been suspended by the City while an investigation into the incident is underway.

They must be fired.

There is no apparent evidence to suggest that the officers were in any way under threat from Qholani.

Indeed, he was resisting leaving his property, however not only was the force used by them disproportionate to his actions, there was no reason why they could not afford him the opportunity to get dressed accordingly.

Their actions demonstrated an abuse of power, a gross violation of his human rights and an inability to comprehend their responsibilities within acceptable norms of law enforcement.

There is no question that land invasions have increasingly become a pressing human settlements crisis in recent years in the country as a result of deep poverty and inequality in South Africa.

Municipalities indeed have a responsibility to ensure adherence to spatial planning, but they must never be allowed to violate and victimise people who are living in poverty.

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