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Sisulu to open criminal case against activist Swartbooi after altercation

After a video went viral of the altercation between the minister and housing activist Nkosikhona Swartbooi of the Social Justice Coalition, she released a statement.

Minister of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu at an inter-ministerial briefing on 24 March 2020 detailing how government will respond ahead of and during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has on Thursday confirmed she will be opening a criminal case against an activist.

On Tuesday, Sisulu visited the Taiwan settlement in Khayelitsha where a fire on New Year's Day left about 500 residents homeless.

After a video went viral of the altercation between the minister and housing activist Nkosikhona Swartbooi of the Social Justice Coalition, she released a statement.

In the minister's statement, she said the activist displayed rude behaviour after she warned him to refrain from recording her.

Sisulu said he had no reason to be at her meeting with affected residents of Taiwan as he was not a resident or journalist.

In the video, he approaches her and asks her about relief she had promised residents of Empolweni last year.

She removed her mask and shouted at him as he questioned her.

“Let's hope, minister, you won't do the same as at Empolweni. You promised structures to be built, but you never built them,” Swartbooi said.

Sisulu said: “You are lying! You are lying! Don't talk talking rubbish, switch it off. Switch it off!”

The Social Justice Coalition told Eyewitness News that following the altercation, the minister's bodyguard manhandled the activist.

The organisation's Mandisa Dyantyi said Swartbooi had the right to hold the minister to account and ask questions.

“If she felt his comment was out of line, all she could’ve done was to engage and tell him how she delivered on the promise she made. There was no need for the violence that Nkosikhona experienced.”

Sisulu said she would be opening a criminal case against the man and that she was in consultation with her lawyers who had advised her to take legal action.

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