SANDF to evict Marievale residents

SANDF to evict Marievale residents. Picture: File

SANDF to evict Marievale residents. Picture: File

Published Feb 19, 2024


Following a legal battle of nearly seven years regarding the fate of families who live at the Marievale military base outside Nigel, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria has granted a court order in favour of the SANDF to evict the residents who are illegally occupying the military land.

In a statement issued on Friday, the SANDF welcomed the court order to evict the residents. The SANDF said the eviction process would be completed by the end of June.

The court ruled that the military must assist with the movement of these people to a place identified by the City of Ekurhuleni.

In the past, the SA Army has assisted the City of Ekurhuleni with similar movements when other residents in the area voluntarily vacated the land they were occupying.

The residents who are to be evicted are those who had refused to voluntarily vacate the military property in 2019 and 2020.

For nearly seven years, residents of the Marievale military base outside Nigel have been embroiled in legal proceedings with the SANDF in a bid to live in peace on the base. But the SANDF said it needed the base exclusively for military operations and the civilians living on the base had to move.

The court initially, in 2017, ordered that the SANDF could not take matters into its own hands by evicting the civilian residents.

The SANDF has been ordered over the years not to harass or manhandle the residents, or demolish their shacks.

After their illegal eviction years ago, most of the more than 100 residents have settled at Happiness Village next to the army base. But the residents complained military personnel were making life difficult for them.

Several legal battles were fought on both sides over the years regarding the fate of these people. During one of the applications the civilians approached the court claiming that soldiers armed with R4 assault rifles and pangas had approached Happiness Village.

They said the soldiers started assaulting residents and demolished their shacks. Before this alleged incident, four soldiers had apparently entered the village to investigate the construction of new houses.

They said early the next morning two officers and about 30 soldiers entered the village and made threatening comments to some of the residents before they demolished the houses.

The residents turned to the court on various occasions with the help of Lawyers for Human Rights, which included applications to interdict the SANDF from intimidating and trying to evict them unlawfully.

The SANDF, in turn, approached the court for an eviction order, which they have now succeeded in obtaining.

The residents have claimed that it has all to do with mining rights in the area and that things will be easier with them gone.

This was denied by the SANDF, which maintained that Marievale was a designated military training institution. It is used for, among other things, the training of new members of the Military Police for crime prevention and for training by the army support base in the Gauteng South region.

Pretoria News