Parliament, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, has denounced the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement actions of evicting a naked man in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Ms Joemat-Petterson said the actions of the law enforcement officers are appalling and unwarranted.  An abhorrent video of a naked man being evicted by law enforcement officers has been doing the rounds on social media today.  

Ms Joemat-Pettersson has summoned the leadership of the City of Cape Town’s Municipal Police Services to give an account of what transpired. “Law enforcement officers have a mandate ‘to protect and serve’, and this mandate was undermined in this instance. Their actions are unacceptable and run contrary to the spirit of their work,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson said. Their actions are not in keeping with the Constitution and the Police Act which governs the work of the police at municipal level.    

The actions by the law enforcement officers are in violation of the man’s right to human dignity as that right is enshrined in the Constitution. The actions are even more shameful especially in the context of the implementation of the State of National Disaster Act, which prohibits evictions.

“The police officers did not allow the man to get dressed at all and seemed intent on publicly humiliating him. That is not in their job description and we want to encourage the victim to lay a charge against the City Law Enforcement officers and their managers. We cannot allow law enforcement officials to act as a gang against citizens of our country.” said Ms Joemat-Pettersson.     

While Ms Joemat-Pettersson understands the need to enforce by-laws, however, that should be done within the ambit of the law at all times. The intended meeting with the leadership of the City of Cape Town’s City Police is to understand the legality of the actions and the orders under which they were carried. “The meeting is primarily intended to ensure accountability and transparency by the City of Cape Town’s Municipal Police Services in accordance with the principles of the Constitution,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson emphasised.

She called for the officers that were involved in the actions to be suspended with immediate effect. The committee has noted the statement from the Executive Director, Mr Richard Bosman, and finds it unacceptable. “We insist that these individuals be suspended with immediate effect.” said Ms Joemat-Pettersson.

The committee has also noted that the City of Cape Town proceeds with inhumane evictions in the middle of winter, despite the call by the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation when she was in Cape Town recently, to stop evictions. “The City Police is not a law unto itself and must be held to account. There is no private police force in the country and the Municipal Police conduct in this regard is shocking,” added Ms Joemat-Pettersson.   

Ms Joemat-Pettersson has also requested the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to investigate the incident and to hold any officer and the senior management involved in the incident accountable. 


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