Residents go on rampage after woman allegedly pulled out her bath during eviction
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Cape Town - Angry Phola Park informal settlement residents damaged several City vehicles after law enforcement officers allegedly forcefully entered the home of a woman who was bathing and arrested her without clothes.
Zintle Khwalo, 32, was arrested by two law enforcement officers while taking a bath during the eviction of informal settlements in Mfuleni on Friday.
The area has been occupied since last September.
According to residents, law enforcement did not produce a court interdict for the eviction.
Community leader Sonwabile Ntondini said Khwalo spent the night in police cells without her clothes.
Ntondini said two males entered Khwalo’s house and forced her to get in their van.
“We were told she is in the police station where she spent her night without her clothes, when the community visited to give her clothes, we were turned away by police officers,” said Ntondini.
He said the incident had traumatised the woman and her child.
“The reason why we occupied the land is because we lost jobs because of Covid-19 and we have no choice but to occupy the land. The law enforcement came to us in full force to evict us without a court interdict. Ever since we occupied the land, the law enforcement has been arrogant to us.
“They do not engage, they just come and they chase us away and shoot us. We don't feel safe any more, we have reported previous incidents to the station commander of Mfuleni but till today no law enforcement has been arrested.”
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said a court order is in place prohibiting the unlawful occupation of land in the area.
“These violent acts are reminiscent of similar scenes last year, when the City acted to prevent the illegal occupation of land. We cannot tolerate this level of lawlessness by a minority, who insists on justifying their illegal acts through violence directed at staff, and other law abiding citizens.
“The City is working closely with police. Several persons have been taken into custody since the unrest started. One of those was a woman who tried to resist arrest on Friday, by undressing herself in front of officers. Female law enforcement officers stepped in and covered the suspect with a blanket, before effecting the arrest on charges of public violence and incitement, public indecency and resisting arrest,” said Smith
Smith said the City has equipped enforcement staff with blankets in their vehicles to address incidents like this.
Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said the alleged behaviour by any of their members would not be tolerated and appropriate action would be taken if the allegations can be substantiated.
“A 32-year-old female was arrested for public violence on (Friday). She was then taken to Mfuleni SAPS where she was detained. She is due to appear in court (today).
“Our members are bound by a code of conduct. (The complainant) is encouraged to lodge a complaint with police management or Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) so that their allegations can be investigated,” said Van Wyk.