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SAHRC condemns land invasions 'but evictions must be executed in a humane way'

14 August 2020 12:23 PM
Tags:
Evictions
Informal Settlements
CT land invasions

Clement Manyathela speaks to Chris Nissen and Human Settlements Department's Yonela Diko about a court case set for next week.

The case involving the eviction of residents whose shacks were demolished in Cape Town during the lockdown is expected to be heard in court next week.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is forging ahead with its court action against the City of Cape Town.

The court action seeks to stop all evictions and demolishing of informal structures without court oversight for the duration of the national state of disaster.

Clement Manyathela spoke to the SAHRC's Chris Nissen and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's spokesperson Yonela Diko on the matter.

Nissen details what it is they are arguing for.

The Human Rights Commission as an applicant in this case has gone to court to ask for three things. The first thing is we are saying that any action of eviction must be done through a court order ... that the law be respected.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape SAHRC Commissioner

The second thing we are asking is that in the event that the court order is obtained, can we wait and respect the regulations with regard to COVID-19 in terms of the National Disaster Management Act and the regulation that says that the execution of the court order must happen post the lockdown.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape SAHRC Commissioner

The third thing that we are asking is in the event that an eviction is executed, can they do it in a humane way, dismantling and not demolishing and not to humiliate people but treat people with dignity and respect.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape SAHRC Commissioner

Nissen says the case of the Khayelitsha man who was evicted naked from his shack - Bulelani Qholani - will not form a part of next week's hearing.

What we are asking are those three things and that [Qholani's case] will probably come in as part of the arguments but not for next week.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape SAHRC Commissioner

We have been in contact with the Legal Resources Centre and, yes, they said that Mr Qholani will exercise his right both in terms of laying a criminal charge and also in terms of wanting to do a civil suit, but the commission has been saying that we are always willing and able to assist in facilitating with the Equality Court.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape SAHRC Commissioner

Nissen has made it clear that the commission is not encouraging land invasion.

The commission is on record that it condemns land invasion. There is no way that we can say land invasion is good because we have to follow due process and we have to follow the law but we are saying that in the event when a person is already there, the authorities need to follow due processes.

Chris Nissen, Western Cape SAHRC Commissioner

Meanwhile Diko says the constitution is clear that law enforcement is not allowed to violate human dignity when executing its work.

We did express outrage at the manner that Bulelani Qholani was evicted for a couple of reasons .... if you see a group of people coming to invade land, you are legally allowed to stop them but if you were absent as the government to prevent people from invading - they stay there, they put structures, you are then not allowed to come and evict them on the basis of invasion. Now you need a court order.

Yonela Diko, Spokesperson for Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

So in the case of Qholani, you have people who have lived there for over months and the city didn't do anything about it and then on some random day decides to brutally evict people and the Constitution is clear - law enforcement is not allowed to violate human dignity as it executes its work.

Yonela Diko, Spokesperson for Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

Click on the link below to hear more....




14 August 2020 12:23 PM
Tags:
Evictions
Informal Settlements
CT land invasions

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