Cosatu statement on the criminal eviction of Mr Bulelani Qolani by the City of Cape Town

The Congress of South African Trade Unions deplores and strongly denounces the actions of Cape Town law enforcement officers who were shown on video dragging a naked Mr Bulelani Qolani out of his shack during evictions in Ethembeni. This reminds us of the scourge of racism that still haunts this country, especially in the DA run City of Cape Town.

These illegal evictions and actions by these officers should be condemned in withering terms by all sane and properly adjusted people. Black people are still subjected to inhumane treatment, they still suffer apartheid-style evictions and are regarded as second-class citizens in their own country. These illegal winter evictions need to be sorted out immediately and the national government has to intervene all across the country.

The City of Cape Town under the Democratic Alliance has become a hotbed of racism and the last outpost of apartheid. This appalling and shameful conduct by law enforcement agencies is intolerable. No taxpayer-funded entity should be allowed to act in such a criminal fashion. These shack dwellers need to be assisted and offered alternative accommodation and not to be treated like a nuisance by the people meant to protect them.

State institutions need to be trained not to use unnecessary force against the citizens and the use of private security firms to conduct evictions needs to be outlawed.

At a time when the Alliance and other progressive formations have launched a campaign against racism, the treatment of Mr Qolani represents a slap in the face to black people, who have fought against this indignity. This is a reminder that we need to continue to rehabilitate some of our government institutions from their addiction to racism. The upcoming local government elections should be used to evict racists out of their municipal offices.

This level of degradation and humiliation cannot be tolerated. While we welcome the suspension of the implicated individuals, we demand sterner action that will send a message that there is no place for this kind of behaviour in this country.

We welcome the Human Rights Commissions swift response. The City of Cape Town needs to understand that South Africa is a country of laws and that black people deserve to be treated with dignity in their country.

We salute the work that is done by the Social Justice Coalition in not just fighting against these evictions but also in exposing the underhanded and downright criminal actions of the City of Cape Town.

 Issued by COSATU

 Sizwe Pamla (COSATU National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 679