Nomzamo evictions inquiry: Police under scrutiny

Officers have been reprimanded for their involvement in the forced evictions in early June.

FILE: Evicted Nomzamo residents burn tyres in Blackheath as they refused to be relocated to a new piece of land where they were expected to build their houses on 9 June 2014. Picture: Renee de Villiers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Members of the Nomzamo Commission of Inquiry have raised concerns that police may have failed in their duty to protect members of the public.

Officers have been reprimanded for their involvement in the Nomzamo evictions near Strand in early June.

Hundreds of families were forced off the South African National Roads Agency Limited-owned property, sparking widespread criticism.

Sanral, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government have all deflected the blame for the violent evictions.

The roads agency maintains it had obtained a High Court order for the removals as the residents were occupying privately-owned land earmarked for a project involving the N2 highway.

This prompted Human Settlements Minster Lindiwe Sisulu to set up the Nomzamo Commission of Inquiry to probe the process of the forced removals.

The inquiry has been drilling the police's Jimmy Lucas, who was the police's operational commander for the removals, about the police's contribution to the chaos that erupted in the area.

Lucas testified that police were not wrong in their actions and said they were merely following instructions.

He says police were not the instigators.

But, his testimony was not well received by commission members.

Some have cautioned they are concerned officers failed in their duty to serve and protect the public.

Meanwhile, the South African Police Services will establish a priority committee to deal with illegal land invasions across Cape Town.

City of Cape Town officials have been struggling to keep people away from property that does not belong to them.