SANDF in contempt of court for Marievale evictions


The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is in contempt of a ruling made by a North Gauteng High Court judge and it will be pursued through legal channels.

That’s the word from Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) in the form of the NGO’s land and housing programme manager, Louise du Plessis, following more than a month of apparent inactivity by the defence force on the issue on illegal evictions from the Marievale military base.

In the second week of May Judge Norman Davis ruled people previously living on the now unused eastern Gauteng military base were unlawfully evicted. He gave the SANDF 30 days to either allow them to return to housing they were occupying or provide alternate accommodation for them.

Du Plessis told defenceWeb that as of May 19 the SANDF was officially in contempt of the court ruling.
“There has been correspondence on the matter from the State Attorney and LHR has indicated it is prepared to meet and discuss the issue, but no response has been forthcoming. We are now at the stage where we have to follow up on the contempt issue because it appears nothing is going to happen,” she said.

LHR maintains soldiers “stormed” into housing occupied, apparently illegally, last December “evicting them most violently in the absence of a court order”.

Marievale has not been in use as a military base or facility for at least the last eight years with a Parliamentary question posed about its future in June 2010. At that time the Department of Public Works indicated there was no budget allocation for repair and maintenance of the base which was apparently going to become accommodation for the SA Army Engineer Formation. The formation is now using what was the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) Central Flying School (CFS) at Dunnottar as its major base of operations in Gauteng.

Approached for comment the Department of Defence (DoD), which indicated through its head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini it would comply with the court order, said last week he was “not generating any information and has to rely on (SANDF) members working in the environment concerned”.