CAPE TOWN – Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato on Thursday said the man who was dragged from his home naked during an eviction in Khayelitsha deliberately undressed to block the eviction.
A video, which has been shared widely, shows the officers removing Bulelani Qholani from his home in the Empolweni while he was washing himself.
But Plato said he’d seen pictures showing Qholani was initially outside his dwelling and later took off his clothes.
The City of Cape Town has been widely condemned for the conduct of four law enforcement officers who assaulted Qholani in full view of his neighbours.
The officers have been suspended and the city has been criticised for being anti-black and anti-poor.
More than a day after the incident, the 28-year-old said the treatment he received made him feel less than human.
“City of Cape Town, I want my dignity back,” he said.
The whole thing was caught on cell phone video and he can’t believe how many people have seen it.
“All the world has seen me over the phone, social media. When they see me, they’re like ‘oh, you are that guy’. I’m feeling bad.”
Not only does he feel humiliated, but he’s also concerned about the effect the experience will have on his young children and partner.
“The child is feeling bad, very bad, and my girlfriend is feeling bad because I need my dignity back.”
The South African Human Rights Commission has advised Qholani to lay a complaint in terms of the Torture Act; the African National Congress in the Western Cape on Thursday laid a criminal charge at the local police station.
Meanwhile, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu plans to take the City of Cape Town to court over the incident.
Sisulu said she was appalled by the victimisation and abuse of these residents.
Department spokesperson Yonela Diko said: “No one should evict anyone without the explicit authority of the court. If the city evicted people without the authority of the court, then the minister can challenge that so that the city can return all the material it has taken and stop evicting residents.”