Marievale saga continues


The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been ordered not to interfere with the water supply nor come into close proximity with residents of Happiness Village, which houses some of those evicted from the Marievale military base.

This is according to a settlement reached in the Pretoria High Court on 9 October after an application brought by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR).

LHR said that while the application for contempt of court against the Minister of Defence, the SANDF and the Officer Commanding Marievale Military Base has been set down for hearing on 19 November 2018, LHR launched another urgent application to be heard on 9 October 2018 on behalf of the residents of Happiness Village.

Following the illegal evictions instigated and carried out by the SANDF late last year in Marievale, the evictees were left homeless and several of them moved into a nearby semi-informal settlement known as “Happiness Village”. Due to the SANDF’s continued non-compliance with the court order of 9 May 2018, which ordered that the evictees must be restored to their homes or provided with alternative accommodation, many of them remain in Happiness Village where they erected shacks.

Happiness Village is situated about 200 metres from Marievale, and although it is on state land it is separate from Marievale and used by civilians solely for residential purposes. “However, in the past few months the residents of Happiness Village have been unnerved by the increasing presence of armed military personnel in Happiness Village that have been harassing, intimidating and threatening them,” LHR said.

On 17 September some military personnel disconnected a water pipe that had been supplying the residents of Happiness Village with potable water. LHR subsequently went to court to have their access to clean water restored and furthermore, to interdict the members of the SANDF from coming in close proximity to the residents’ homes as well as from harassing, intimidating and threatening them.

The Pretoria High Court ordered the SANDF to only visit Happiness Village for lawful purposes and provide the community with potable water.