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South African Human Rights Commission and Others v City of Cape Town and Others (8631/2020) [2020] ZAWCHC 84

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South African Human Rights Commission and Others v City of Cape Town and Others (8631/2020) [2020] ZAWCHC 84

28th August 2020

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[1] On 1 July 2020 the nation was shocked by a video that went viral on social media depicting a naked man being dragged out of his shack in an informal settlement by officials of the City of Cape Town, who thereafter demolished the shack. The image, reminiscent of apartheid era brutal forced removals, depicted Mr Bulelani Qolani, the Third Applicant in these proceedings.  Those dragging him were members of the Anti-Land Invasion Unit (“ALIU”), of the City of Cape Town, a specialised unit tasked inter alia with determining, without a court order, which structures should be demolished, primarily in informal settlements and on land that becomes occupied. This disturbing incident, together with several other demolitions effected without court orders in the greater Cape Town area during the current national state of disaster,[1] have prompted this application, Part A of which is before us for urgent interim relief, pending the finalisation of Part B. The application seeks inter alia to inject judicial oversight into evictions and demolitions during the national state of disaster in informal settlements in particular, where the most vulnerable reside. 

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