On Wednesday evening the City of Cape Town (CoCT) released a statement saying it was “in the process of suspending” four law enforcement officials involved in the eviction of a naked man from a shack he was occupying in Khayelitsha.
“The actions of officers involved in this matter is being investigated with urgency, including other footage which the city has. Once the investigation has been completed, the appropriate action will be taken. We are saddened by the conduct depicted on the video footage and we do not condone any forceful and dehumanising conduct,” it said.
The statement further read that the incident of the naked man depicted on the video occurred during a city law enforcement operation.
In the video, members of the CoCT’s anti-land invasion unit can be seen removing the naked man from his shack and taking him outside. There is a commotion as the man tries to get back into his shack, with four to five officers blocking his path and some violently pushing him to the ground.
As he struggles to get back into his shack, other members of the law enforcement team pull apart the front portion of the shack, which consists of the door and window. The man eventually makes it back inside, he proceeds to sit on a bed while officers continue to dismantle the shack.
CoCT says the land in question was owned by the city, which had conducted numerous operations to prevent illegal land occupation. After the previous removal of illegal occupiers, it said new attempts were made to invade the land on a daily basis.
“The land is earmarked for the 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 CoCT dismantled no less than four homes in the Khayelitsha community of Empolweni, leaving the families that had been living there with nowhere else to go.