Marievale Community Successfully Fights Illegal Eviction by SANDF for the Third Time

Date: 22/05/2020

In an urgent court hearing yesterday night, Lawyers for Human Rights again successfully defended the Marievale community, a small village located at the Marievale military base near Nigel, in Gauteng, from another attempt at an illegal eviction by the SANDF and Ekurhuleni Municipality.

The Marievale families have obtained a series of court orders against the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, as well as the SANDF, since they were forced from the area in 2017.  In sum, the orders mandate that the SANDF must allow the families back to their homes after having illegally evicted them in 2017, when military personnel went door to door in armoured tanks to force residents out.  The court has been clear that where restoring families to their rightful homes is not possible, they should receive alternative accommodation.

On the eve of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Ekurhuleni Municipality undertook that it would not relocate any of the community during the forthcoming lockdown period. LHR attorneys requested the municipality to engage with them before any relocation would be effected.

Instead, on Tuesday of this week, the SANDF and municipality arrived to the Marievale community and informed people that they would immediately begin relocating the residents to an area known as Duduza.  This process begin the next day, as promised, and the SANDF insisted it did not need a court order to relocate the Marievale families.  The Minister’s office informed LHR that the Marievale residents were “voluntarily” relocating and had signed letters to this effect, despite that many residents were being forced to move.  LHR immediately brought an urgent application on behalf of 87 people who did not want relocate.

Last night, the North Gauteng High Court issued an order stopping the SANDF and Ekurhuleni from once again forcefully relocated the Marievale community.

“This is another victory for the Marievale families, but we remain concerned about the relentless attack on these innocent community members by the SANDF.  We are hopeful that this newest order puts to bed once and for all these efforts to illegally remove our clients from the area”, said Louise du Plessis, head of the LHR Land and Housing Programme.

For further information, please contact:

Louise du Plessis

Manager: Land and Housing Programme

+82 346 0744


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