Allegations of intimidation and torture as Marievale residents are evicted from army base

Evicted residents stand outside the Marievale military base where they live

Residents from Marievale who were granted a court interdict on Wednesday are still being evicted from their homes on the military base in Nigel. Some are also alleging brutal treatment and torture at the hands of the army personnel evicting them.

Joburg High Court grants interdict preventing SANDF from evicting Marievale residents

Marievale resident Tumi Weyi told The Daily Vox he was first dunked into water for ten minutes then detained by South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel after he picketed with Right2Know against the evictions of people from their homes in the disused Military base. “The people who were supposed to be protecting us, which is the soldiers, they were now going to kill me,” he said.

Weyi said he was assaulted by two military officials with guns and only stopped when their senior begged them not to to kill him. “They threw me in the water and they pointed at me with guns,” he said.

Weyi was taken to the Dunnottar police station where he was detained until Friday morning with another man who was arrested. Zamantungwa Khumalo, a lawyer with the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri), who helped facilitate the release of Weyi and the other resident said the prosecutor from the Dunnottar branch court found there was no case after looking through the docket.

Residents from Marievale were granted an interdict by the Johannesburg High Court on Wednesday preventing the SANDF from evicting them, but they say this has not stopped military personnel.

The first applicant in the interdict, Willem Koekemoer has since been evicted from his home along with most of the 600-member community. “I have nowhere to go with my family but I am looking for a place to rent now,” he said.

Marievale residents say SANDF is illegally evicting them from military base

Koekemoer also said the sheriff was barred from entering the military base to serve the interdict on SANDF members.

Thulani Nkosi, senior attorney from Seri said the military was in contempt of court if the SANDF barred the sheriff from serving the interdict on them.

SANDF spokesperson, Siphiwe Dlamini said he was not aware of the alleged torture and said about Weyi’s claims, “he must go to the police, what does he want me to say?”

Ekurhuleni ward councillor Wollaston Labuschagne who visited Marievale on Friday said a small percentage of residents remain in the military barracks but the rest have erected an informal settlement across the road. “A lot of residents that stayed in the old compound type of barracks have now been driven out and now erected shacks,” he said.

He said he was also denied access to the barracks. “[The military] are saying people are leaving voluntarily whist we know very well that they’ve been intimidating and forcing people out since last week,” he said.

Right2Know’s Murray Hunter said the events in Marievale are the work of SANDF personnel gone rogue. “Soldiers are terrorising the community, acting in defiance of the courts, and acting like there’s martial law. We are calling on department of defence to hold the commanding officers responsible,” he said.

Featured image supplied by Wollaston Labuschagne

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