Manner in which naked man removed 'shameful', but City has duty to stop land occupation - CT mayor

accreditation
  • Cape Town mayor Dan Plato admits the actions of four law enforcement officials caught on camera manhandling a naked man in Khayelitsha were shameful.
  • Plato has, however, said municipalities across South Africa have a duty to prevent illegal land occupation.
  • Since 2018, 357 hectares of private and public land had been invaded in Cape Town, he said.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato has admitted the actions of four law enforcement officials caught on camera manhandling a naked man in Khayelitsha were shameful.

"Having watched the video of law enforcement officers responding to an illegal land invasion in Khayelitsha yesterday, and the shameful circumstances that Mr Bulelani Qolani was subjected to, I want to make it clear that this is not the type of conduct that we tolerate in this City," Plato said.

The video went viral on Wednesday after the naked man, Bulelani Qolani, who was in the process of bathing, was seen being dragged from his shack and wrestled to the ground by officers.

READ | City of Cape Town to suspend officers who dragged naked man from bath

Plato said while the investigation into the conduct of the law enforcement officers and the circumstances surrounding the situation was ongoing, he acknowledged Qolani's dignity was impaired.

The four officers involved have been suspended. 

I am truly sorry for what he experienced.
Dan Plato

But he also moved to dispel, what he calls, misinformation on social media.

"While evictions are not permitted under the lockdown, the courts, as well as the national Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu have made it clear that municipalities across South Africa have a duty to prevent illegal land invasions.

"This particular area in Khayelitsha was illegally invaded during the first weeks of the national lockdown and the City responded to requests from the local community to remove the illegally erected structures. The city-owned land has been earmarked for the installation of services for the surrounding community," Plato said.

WATCH | Naked man manhandled by law enforcement as shack is torn down

According to Plato, a local NGO and legal support structure took the City to court to prevent the removal of the illegal structures set up during a land occupation.

The Western Cape High Court ruled that while the City had not been in breach of any regulations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 49 structures that had already been erected would be allowed to remain there temporarily during the lockdown.

Read Plato's full statement here.

"Since then, there have been near daily attempts to further invade the land. Efforts to prevent illegal land invasions across South Africa require an increasing amount of resources from local municipalities and provinces. From 2018 to date, 357 hectares of private and public land has been invaded in Cape Town alone," Plato said.

He however said officers have a responsibility to conduct themselves with professionalism, and to always respect residents, regardless of any provocation or resistance to cooperate.

Plato also said he wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting national government's help in dealing with land occupations.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
72% - 6570 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
28% - 2600 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.03
+0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.32
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.17
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.41
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+0.3%
Gold
1,778.69
-0.2%
Silver
22.41
+0.4%
Palladium
1,760.78
+0.9%
Platinum
945.72
+1.0%
Brent Crude
68.87
-0.5%
Top 40
64,786
0.0%
All Share
71,198
0.0%
Resource 10
67,859
0.0%
Industrial 25
93,997
0.0%
Financial 15
13,880
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE