South Africa

This is another level of brutality, Cele tells Bulelani Qolani

Cape Town - This is another level of brutality, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Saturday during his meeting with Bulelani Qolani. 

Earlier this week Qolani was dragged naked from his shack in Empolweni, Khayelitsha by City of Cape Town law enforcement officials who had come to tear down illegally built structures. 

He had been bathing at the time they stormed his house. The incident was caught on video, which shows the officers forcefully pushing Qolani and dragging him from his shack in front of many other residents.

“A naked man was taken out to be seen by the whole world. This is another level of brutality.” Cele said on Saturday, according to reports by EWN.

“We have put this case at the very high level, at the office of the national commissioner and the office of the provincial commissioner where it is being monitored. I have a right to monitor and ask for reports all the time."

“Members of the South African Police Service and Metro Police have structures that look after them. One major problem about law enforcement is that you don’t know where to go next after cases like this. It’s a structure that’s a bit rocky and does not fall under protocols of the law,"" Cele was quoted as saying.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato, has said that independent investigators would be probing the circumstances surrounding the controversial eviction.

In a statement released on Friday, Plato said this was to ensure the findings from the independent body were above reproach given the public interest in the case. 

The City of Cape Town has suspended the four law enforcement officers who were filmed evicting Qolani from his shack. The footage of the eviction has since gone viral. 

Plato said all video and photographic evidence gathered by officers and residents in the area would be handed over to the independent investigators. 

He said included in this was footage showing that the man was initially clothed at the time of the operation and not taking a shower or bath as reported. 

Plato said while reports stated that the man had purposefully undressed in an attempt to curb the anti-land invasion operation, he did not condone the "undignified and shameful" circumstances surrounding the incident. 

“We will await the findings of the independent investigators in this regard. I have asked that this matter be concluded by no later than Friday, 10 July,”  Plato said. 

The independent investigators were brought in, the mayor said, on recommendation of the city's executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, and member for the mayoral committee for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith. 

According to a high court order, the City of Cape Town has the power to remove any new illegally erected structures on the Empolweni piece of land in question. However, 49 structures were allowed to remain on the land until the matter is heard in court. 

African News Agency (ANA) and IOL

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