The City of Cape Town said on Wednesday that it was in the process of suspending law enforcement officers who were involved in the forced removal of a naked man from his shack in Khayelitsha.
On Wednesday evening, the City said it was in the process of suspending four staff members pending further investigation and disciplinary procedures related to an incident earlier in the day.
In the video, the Cape Town enforcement officers violently ejected the naked man from his shack. They are seen ejecting the naked man from his shack, before throwing him to the ground, and repeatedly preventing him from returning to the shack.
According to some on social media, the man had been apparently taking a bath when the City officials initiated the action.
"The City has been made aware of video footage concerning law enforcement officials in Khayelitsha and a resident today while they were on duty in the area. We are in the process of suspending four staff members involved in the incident pending the outcome of the investigation.
"The suspension also ensures that staff are not targeted while on duty. We are saddened by the conduct depicted on the video footage, and we do not condone any forceful and dehumanising conduct by our staff members," said the City’s Executive Director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman.
"The City takes these allegations very seriously, and while our staff are subjected to very challenging circumstances while carrying out anti-land invasion operations, which are to protect land earmarked for housing opportunities and other services, we will not condone violence of any nature by law enforcement staff. I have asked for the facts to be gathered as a matter of urgency and that the investigation is concluded without delay," said Bosman.
In the statement, the City added that the land in question belongs to them and they've conducted various operations to prevent illegal land occupation.
"After the removal of illegally built structures, new attempts are made to invade again on a daily basis.
"The land is earmarked for the installation of services to serve the broader community in the area."
In April this year the Western Cape High Court court ruled that the evictions of the residents in Empolweni whose homes were demolished by the City of Cape Town over the Easter weekend was unlawful.
The group, who were represented by the Legal Resources Centre, were allowed to return to the land and re-erect their dwellings.
According to the Legal Resources Centre, the list the court accepted was for 49 households. No other person is allowed to occupy the land or build any structures on it outside of the 49 households given permission by the court.
"There is an interdict in place as well as a recent court order which allows only 49 households to temporarily remain on the land until after the lockdown. The City must also maintain this recent court order, which the community is aware of," the City statement said.