City clears officers filmed dragging naked Bulelani Qolani from his Khayelitsha shack
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CAPE TOWN - Four of the City’s law enforcement officers have been cleared of gross negligent conduct for an incident involving the eviction of a naked Bulelani Qolani from Khayelitsha shack.
The finding emerged during the Western Cape High Court hearing on Wednesday into the legality of landowners’ right to take possession of their land from invaders without a court order.
The City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit (ALIU) actions of forcefully removing Bulelani Qolani from his shack while he was naked last year was previously found to be unlawful and unconstitutional by the high court, which also ruled that demolitions of homes cannot be carried out during the national lockdown.
The SAHRC and the EFF now want the order to be extended beyond the lockdown.
During court proceedings on Wednesday, Sean Rosenberg SC, for the City, was asked about what happened to the officers who were suspended for the incident.
“An independent erstwhile acting judge in this division was brought in to consider those charges and to handle the disciplinary inquiry as chair. His finding has recently come out and he found the officers, parties involved in that episode, not guilty of gross misconduct as charged,” Rosenberg said.
The City confirmed that the officers were found not guilty.
“As recommended by an external legal opinion, an independently chaired and initiated hearing considered the matter, and found the officers not guilty of gross negligent conduct.
“The National Prosecuting Authority has declined to pursue any charges against the officers,” the City said.
SAHRC commissioner Andre Gaum said they would not comment on the City's findings at this stage.
"I don't think it would be appropriate to comment now while this court case continues. The City has its own processes. But we await the outcome of this court and will comment once this court makes its own decision," said Gaum.