South African Human Rights Commission to take City of Cape Town to court

South African Human Rights Commission to take City of Cape Town to court
City of Cape Town metro police move in to clear land grabs by hundreds in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa, 21 April 2020. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) intends taking the City of Cape Town to court over its eviction policy following the forced removal of a naked man from his shack in Khayelitsha on Wednesday.


“There is absolutely no excuse for what happened,” said SAHRC commissioner Chris Nissen on Thursday.

Nissen said Bulelani Qholani was stripped of all dignity when he was evicted and dragged naked from his shack.

In a video of the incident, law enforcement officials can be seen manhandling and tussling with Qholani, before he goes back inside. The shack is then torn down with him in it.

The commission also believes it was a breach of the Disaster Management Act during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“And we, as the commission, have decided that we will go to court and stop the City from evicting people during Covid-19.”

Four law enforcement officers were suspended as responses of horror and anger were expressed.

A march has been planned in the city in protest against the City’s actions.

City of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato on Thursday described the incident as “shameful” and that it impaired Qholani’s dignity, and could not be tolerated.

He however defended the city’s right to stop what he deemed “illegal” land invasions.

“While evictions are not permitted under the lockdown, the courts, as well as the national Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, have made it clear that municipalities across South Africa have a duty to prevent illegal land invasions,” Plato said.

“This particular area in Khayelitsha was illegally invaded during the first weeks of the national lockdown and the City responded to requests from the local community to remove the illegally erected structures.”



"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider
Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz