SANDF appeal against evicted Marievale residents dismissed

SANDF appeal against evicted Marievale residents dismissed

Pretoria High Court says application lacks merit and orders army to pay costs

By Kimberly Mutandiro

The Pretoria High Court on Friday dismissed an application for leave to appeal by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and ordered the army to comply with previous court orders to accommodate evicted Marievale residents.

The residents were forcefully evicted from their homes in the Marievale military base by the SANDF in November 2017. On 9 May 2018 the court ordered the SANDF to allow residents to return to their homes within 30 days.

In November 2018 the residents asked for the SANDF to be held in contempt of court because they had not yet returned to their homes or been given alternative accommodation. Judge Norman Davis did not find the SANDF in contempt but reaffirmed and supplemented the 9 May court order.

The SANDF applied for leave to appeal this order. It argued that its application had suspended the November court order. Judge Davis dismissed this on Friday, saying the application lacked merit. He also ordered the SANDF to pay the costs of the application and to accommodate the Marievale residents.

Davis explained that the order on 30 November did not change the fact that the army has to accommodate the residents. “It is common cause that [the 9 May] order has not yet been implemented,” said Davis.

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said in court that it provided the army with the names and ID numbers of the people who need to be accommodated, as ordered by the court. LHR said that Friday’s ruling should compel the SANDF to finally accommodate the Marievale families.

“We are now expecting the SANDF to comply … otherwise nothing will stop us from making another application for them to be found in contempt of court,” said Louise du Plessis of Lawyers for Human Rights.

“It is disheartening that we continue winning in court against the SANDF but to date we have not gone back to our homes,” said Lucy Malikele, one of the evicted residents.

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