Marievale military housing case back in court


Marievale military base and its apparently unlawful occupants want jail time for a number of senior officers, including SA Army Chief Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, because the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has not complied with a court order.

The base, on Gauteng’s East Rand, is apparently currently used primarily as accommodation for SA Army Engineer Formation personnel, who work at nearby Dunnottar.

People who have been living on the base for some time were apparently illegally – and violently – evicted in December last year. They approached Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) who successfully took up cudgels on their behalf when Judge Norman Davis ruled the defence force either had to allow those evicted base into military accommodation or find other suitable accommodation for approximately 150 families.

The SANDF did not comply with the court order and a contempt charge was followed up by LHR. This has seen two appearances in the north Gauteng High Court in Pretoria this week, as yet without any ruling.

Gauteng daily, The Citizen, reported Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said in papers she had given General Solly Shoke, SANDF Chief, and the Military Command instructions to comply with the order. She maintained she could not personally be held responsible for contempt.

The evictees now want Yam and Colonel Mafihlwase Mkhize, said to be commander of the Marievale army support base, to be jailed for 120 days unless the SANDF complies with the court order. They will also ask the court to issue warrants of arrest for these officers, suspended for 12 months on condition the May court order is complied with.

SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke indicated at a briefing in Centurion recently the Marievale base had been identified as part of milestone one of the Defence Review. He gave no further details and the force’s corporate communications directorate said it would not respond to defenceWeb questions because the Marievale issue was “sub judice”.
defenceWeb has learnt that at least some of the people apparently illegally resident at Marievale were family or relatives of SANDF members who have been posted elsewhere. As far as can be ascertained when this happens families are given a maximum of three months to vacate housing. It not clear what role, if any, the Department of Public Works (DPW), as landlord of government property has in ensuring the right people are allocated accommodation at military bases.