'We have criminalised being poor': DA's Mbali Ntuli on Khayelitsha evictions
DA MP Mbali Ntuli has come out in defence of Khayelitsha residents after they were evicted from illegally occupied land belonging to the city of Cape Town.
Ntuli was responding to a Twitter user who was critical of her, and others, for speaking out against the humiliation experienced by 28-year-old Bulelani Qholani, who was dragged out of his shack by the city’s anti-land invasion unit while naked.
The Twitter user said land grabbers are criminals and that those who defend them must decide if they want to live in a country where law and order is observed or disregarded.
In response, Ntuli said poverty has been criminalised and the Khayelitsha residents did not choose to live in shacks during a global pandemic.
“I’m sorry you can’t see the inhumanity,” she said in part.
Unathi,nobody wants to live in a shack in winter during a pandemic. We have criminalized being poor. It is absolutely right that Cathy, I& others condemn the way that law enforcement treated that man. I'm sorry you can't see the inhumanity. https://t.co/ZmfiGTdiwW— Mbali Ntuli (@mbalimcdust) July 2, 2020
On Monday, a video of a naked Qholani being removed from his shack during evictions, while he tried to go inside to get dressed, caused public outrage as many accused the city of stripping him and other residents of their dignity.
At the time, Ntuli said “nobody should be evicted in that manner”, and offered to help Qholani.
I don't want to reshare the video of the man being evicted in Khayalitsha. Nothing warrants being debased like that. Nobody should be evicted in that manner. If there are already people helping him on the ground please let me know if there's anyway I can help.— Mbali Ntuli (@mbalimcdust) July 1, 2020
On Thursday Qholani told TimesLIVE he had opened a case against the city and its officials at the Harare police station. He wants justice.
“Only justice can restore my dignity, I sustained several injuries from the tussle. I’m in pain. The whole community saw me being dragged around, and all I wanted was to cover my body. I’m embarrassed to face the world.”
The city condemned the conduct of the officers in a public statement issued on Wednesday.
The SA Human Rights Commission's Chris Nissen said the commission will take the city to court as it had violated the Disaster Management Act by evicting residents during the coronavirus pandemic.