Evicted naked man 'tactically' undressed himself, says Cape Town mayor
Johannesburg - Cape Town mayor Dan Plato has accused the naked man who was violently evicted from his shack of "tactically" undressing himself before law enforcement officers approached his informal structure.
Bulelani Qholani, 28, was seen being manhandled and thrown to the ground by at least four Cape Town law enforcement officers in a video that has sparked outrage.
The officers were sent to demolish shacks at a site called eThembeni, near Empolweni, in Khayelitsha.
The City of Cape Town has since suspended four officers who were involved in the incident and is conducting an internal investigation.
Speaking to eNCA on Thursday, Plato said he spent the afternoon watching footage recorded by officials. He said the footage he had seen painted a different story and said the officers had seen the man clothed at another shack before finding him next in the structure.
"Moments before our officials moved to that structure that person did have clothes on... Initially he was not in the structure, he was standing in the previous structure and moved into the structure and the officers moved in.
"When he was standing in the doorway, and I do have pictures right here in front me, he had clothes on and when the officers moved into the structure he did not have clothes on," said the mayor.
Plato said the act of dwellers stripping themselves naked and standing naked in front of structures was "common", adding it was not the first time, nor would it be the last time such an incident happened.
Plato said the shacks that were being demolished were new and were not linked with those that were ordered to be rebuilt by a court. He said the structures were being built illegally on land the City of Cape Town had earmarked for a housing development.
"But allow us to do a full-scale investigation and that investigation is already underway. We have appointed a team to do the investigation to scan the videos taken by the law enforcement officers of the City of Cape Town and that will unravel, step by step, what the officers have done. Let the investigation show us what really happened," he said.
Plato also accused Qholani of staging the incident.
"That person I am of the opinion it was staged act to put the City of Cape Town in a bad light," he said.
When he was quizzed about Qholani being a family-centred Christian man, Plato retorted: "People can say anything on television."
Qholani told GroundUp on Thursday: “Yesterday, I was at home in my house. The City of Cape Town came to evict me, and to break down my house. I asked them: ‘Guys, where is your court order?’. They didn’t have a court order. I told them, ‘Bring up the court order, bring up the permit’. I was in my room, washing. I asked them to wait for two minutes outside the house. The one guy would not listen to me. He came in and told me to get out. I asked them for one minute. Then they threw me outside.
“I’ve been staying here at eThembeni for four months, since 16 March.”