Man Pulled Out Naked Of Shack During Evictions Wins Case
Bulelani Qolani a backyarder who was stripped naked by law enforcement during evictions has won a court case against the City of Cape Town.
Judges Shehnaz Meer and Rosheni Allie in the Western Cape High Court ordered that the City of Cape Town’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit (ALIU) will not be allowed to evict people or demolish their structures without a court order while the country remains in a State of National Disaster.
This follows an application by the Human Rights Commission, supported by Economic Freedom Fighters asking the court barring the City of Cape Town from evicting shack dwellers.
Other respondents listed in the case included the Ministers of Human Settlements, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Police, and the SAPS national commissioner.
The judges said in the case that the City of Cape Town obtains a court order they must execute it in a lawful and respectful manner that “upholds the dignity of the evicted persons”. They said the City is “expressly prohibited from using excessive force” and may not destroy or confiscate material belonging to those evicted.
The court has given the City a week to return “all building material and personal possessions” taken by the ALIU since 1 May 2020 and ordered that it pay R2,000 to the parties cited by the Economic Freedom Fighters in its submissions to the court.
The City was further interdicted from “considering, adjudicating and awarding” bids and tenders related to demolition services for the ALIU.
The court also instructed SAPS members present at a court-sanctioned demolition or eviction to ensure that the actions are being lawfully executed and to “protect the dignity of the persons evicted”.
The court also ordered the City to pay the costs for the legal proceedings.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato described the judgment as a “dangerous precedent” that will make it difficult for landowners to protect their land. He also instructed the city’s lawyers to challenge the ruling.
“It sets a dangerous precedent for all landowners. If left unchallenged, the interdict would make it almost impossible for landowners to protect their property from unlawful occupation and to prevent people from establishing homes, albeit unlawfully, on the property of others. The knock-on effect of the large-scale orchestrated land invasions we have seen is simply devastating for Cape Town, its communities, residents in general and the City,” he said.