Cape Town – The City has filed papers in the Western Cape High Court opposing the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) application to interdict it from carrying out land evictions.
The council has come under criticism after a video of law enforcement officials dragging a naked man while evicting him from a shack.
At the time, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato called the treatment of Bulelani Qholani shameful and said the City
had immediately suspended the four officers.
He also insisted, however, that municipalities had a duty by law to prevent illegal land invasions.
Yesterday, Plato said the City would stand up for residents impacted by such invasions.
“The rights of people impacted by illegal land invasion have seemingly been forgotten by the SAHRC.
“Residents can rest assured that their City will stand up for them,” he said.
In its papers opposing the SAHRC application, the City said there was no right in law which prohibited a landowner from demolishing or removing an unlawfully erected unoccupied structure from their land.
The SAHRC has repeatedly called on South Africans to refrain from unlawful land invasions.
At the same time, it says evictions, demolitions of illegal dwellings and the removal of people from such land should be conducted within the limits of human rights as set out in the Constitution.
It is seeking to interdict evictions during the current Covid-19 crisis, saying that doing so is a breach of the Disaster Management Act.
Meanwhile, police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said a case of malicious damage to property and public violence had been opened after Mfuleni residents allegedly torched two vehicles on Wednesday.
The residents were protesting over being evicted by City officials on the vacant land they had occupied.