[Press Release] Marievale Community in Court today to fight illegal evictions by SANDF

17 April 2018

In November and December 2017 members of the South African Defence Force stormed into the homes of about 150 families residing in a small village known as Marievale and evicted them in the most violent manner. This was an illegal eviction carried out in the absence of a court order.


Marievale was a military base formerly occupied by members of the military. However, as the base fell largely into disuse some of the vacant houses became occupied by veterans and civilian families consisting of children, women and elderly persons. Some of the evicted residents had been living in Marievale from as far back as the 1990s.


SANDF states that the military houses were occupied illegally and without authorisation. It rejects the residents’ claims that they were renting the houses from certain military personnel and in the weeks leading up to the eviction the residents were harassed, assaulted and interrogated about their occupation of the houses. During the eviction, members of the military went from door to door in armoured tanks invading the homes of the residents, forcing them to pack their possessions and vacate the houses with guns pointed at them.


In spite of Section 26 (3) of the Constitution which states that no one may be evicted from their home without a court order, SANDF saw it fit to take the law into its own hands and orchestrated the illegal eviction of 150 families. Lawyers for Human Rights has now launched an urgent application on behalf of the evicted residents of Marievale against the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and SANDF to declare the eviction unlawful and to restore the residents to their homes.


For more information please contact Louise Du Plessis, Land and Housing Programme Manager on 012 320 2943 or Carol Mohlala, Media and Communications Manager on 079 238 9826