Parliament slams law enforcement officers' eviction of naked man in Khayelitsha
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Johannesburg - The parliamentary committee on police has denounced
who evicted a naked man from his informal dwelling in the Khayelitsha township, after a video of the incident went viral on social media on Wednesday.
Committee chairwoman Tina Joemat-Pettersson said she had summoned the leadership of Cape Town’s municipal police service to give an explanation over the incident, during which the police officers allegedly refused to allow the man to get dressed and seemed intent on publicly humiliating him.
"Law enforcement officers have a mandate ‘to protect and serve’, and this mandate was undermined in this instance." she said, adding that the officers grossly violated the man’s right to human dignity as enshrined in South Africa's Constitution.
The actions were even more reprehensible given that such evictions were prohibited under the state of national disaster the government had declared in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The City of on Wednesday said that four law enforcement officials had been suspended over the incident.
Joemat-Pettersson also slammed the Cape Town council for being "inhumane" by proceeding with the eviction of the occupants of illegal dwellings in the middle of winter, despite a call by the minister of human settlements to stop this.
"The city police is not a law unto itself and must be held to account. There is no private police force in the country and the municipal police conduct in this regard is shocking,” she said.
She also requested that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate investigate the incident and hold any officer and the senior management involved in the incident accountable.
There have been several reports of brutality recently by law enforcement officers during a lockdown imposed by the government under the under the state of national disaster in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to try and contain the virus.
Last month, the South African National Defence Force said it condemned acts of violence after a video clip surfaced of an unidentified man dressed in army fatigues assaulting a woman.
In April Collins Khosa, a resident of Johannesburg's Alexandra township, died at the hands of soldiers and metro police after a severe beating for allegedly breaking lockdown rules.
An internal report into the incident by the military appeared to exonerate those implicated in Khosa's death, sparking nationwide outrage.