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Human Settlements Dept wants answers over treatment of Bulelani Qholani

Law enforcement officers removed Bulelani Qholani from his home while he was naked and later allowed him to put on some clothing.

Bulelani Qholani (the man removed from his home naked) says he is still in pain after City of Cape Town law enforcement officers manhandled him. He said he was treated as if he had no human rights.  Picture: Jarita Kassen/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Human Settlements Ministry is demanding answers after a man was roughed up and humiliated by Cape Town law enforcement officers during an eviction in Khayelitsha this week.

In a video, law enforcement officers are seen hauling the man out of his shack while he was naked.

He was washing himself at the time when officers moved in to tear down four dwellings. The City of Cape Town said that the dwellings were illegally erected.

The operation surrounding Bulelani Qholani has sparked widespread outrage.

More than a day after the incident, the 28-year-old said that the treatment he received made him feel less than human.

“City of Cape Town, I want my dignity back.”

Law enforcement officers removed him from his home while he was naked and later allowed him to put on some clothing.

The whole thing was caught on cellphone video and he can't believe how many people have seen it.

“All of the world has seen me over the phone on social media. When they see me, they like 'Oh, you are you that guy'. I'm feeling bad."

Not only does he feel humiliated, 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.

The four officers involved have been suspended and will face disciplinary action.

MAYOR ORDERS INDEPENDENT PROBE

Mayor Dan Plato has called for an independent investigation into the eviction in Khayelitsha.

Plato said that the city's footage suggested the man undressed as a tactic.

“We had two to three people only taking pictures and videos. That person was roaming around from structure to structure. That person purposely walked into his shack and made himself naked without any law enforcement officer near him.”

He said that an internal investigation into the matter was being conducted.

“I informed the city manager this afternoon to get an external investigation, even if it’s a law firm, so that we can unravel what happened there. We will later disclose the findings.”

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