SANDF to be served with contempt of court papers


Papers will be served on the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) on Wednesday (August 22) noting it to be in contempt of a court decision and demanding it appears in court on September 11.

The appearance is yet another in an ongoing legal battle by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) to obtain justice of some sort for people apparently unlawfully evicted from Marievale military base in eastern Gauteng late last year.

Louise du Plessis, land and housing programme manager at LHR, said the latest legal move comes in the wake of apparent attempts by the SANDF to prevent evictees from returning to the base. It is currently not in use as an active military facility with SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke indicating last month it was part of milestone one of the Defence Review. This aims to halt the decline of the SANDF. Shoke did not elaborate on what utilisation was planned for the base.

In mid-May North Gauteng High Court judge Norman Davis ruled people were illegally evicted from Marievale and they should either be provided with suitable alternative accommodation or allowed to return to the base. This did not happen in spite of site visits by LHR and SANDF representatives. One site visit saw the LHR delegation met, in intimidating fashion, by armed soldiers apparently guarding the currently unused base. It could not be confirmed but it appears the soldiers are Reserve Force members called up specifically for guard and sentry duty.

Du Plessis told defenceWeb it was “scary” going into and onto the base.

The SANDF was given until mid-July to come up with an alternative plan as regards the Marievale housing which she said it had not done.
“Work is underway on the necessary legal documentation and it will be delivered to the defence force on Wednesday (August 22),” she said.