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SAHRC to probe cops, law enforcement and private security firms’ conduct during evictions

17 Oct 2022

Cape Town – The conduct of law enforcement authorities during evictions of land occupiers and their interactions with homeless people in the Western Cape will come under scrutiny when the South African African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) holds its hearings on Tuesday.

This will be the second sitting, the first having been held in April.

The SAHRC said it had “noted a systemic issue in the manner in which the South African Police Service (SAPS), City of Cape Town law enforcement and private security companies conduct themselves during evictions of unlawful occupiers and interactions with homeless persons in the Western Cape”.

“As a result, the Commission has initiated a Provincial Hearing in Respect of Human Rights Violations Committed by Private Security, Police and Law Enforcement Against Land-insecure Individuals and Communities in the Western Cape,” the SAHRC said.

The hearing was initiated after the SAHRC noted various complaints, monitors’ reports and news media alleging the infringing conduct.

Examples of such complaints stemmed from members of Red Ants Security allegedly having assaulted and pointed a firearm at a child during an eviction/demolition in Atlantis on February 21 last year.

Community leaders in Knysna also alleged that Red Ants Security, Knysna law enforcement and SAPS repeatedly assault homeless individuals in and around Knysna.

“Although specific instances are referenced above as examples of manifestations of the systemic issue under investigation, the Commission’s investigation herein does not seek to investigate and provide relief in individual instances of alleged violence against land-insecure individuals. The Commission recognises that the appropriate forums exist to make determinations and order relief for individuals affected by violence and damage to property.

“Therefore, the purpose of the hearing is to determine the systemic issues, challenges and causes that lead to the proliferation of these forms of violence; allow the Commission to make findings and recommendations to reduce the occurrence of these alleged violations; promote access to justice for victims thereof and assist the SAPS, law enforcement and security companies to fulfil their mandate in respect of land-insecure individuals in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution, effective and sustainable.”

Source: Cape Times

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