On 9 May, the Pretoria High Court ruled that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would need to vacate the former army base which has housed the Marievale community. The court also ruled that the SANDF would need to provide alternative accommodation for the community. However, reports have emerged that the army is now attempting to use the police to evict residents. The Daily Vox rounds up.
During a Checkpoint documentary which aired on 29 May on eNCA, footage emerged that the army are continuing to evict residents from the army base despite a court interdict ordering them not to. The General of the army also failed to explain to the producer of the show the reasons why the army were evicting the people.
The army evicts civilians at gunpoint despite a court interdict ordering them not to.
Their General struggles to explain why to producer @KylaHerrmannsen@Checkpoint_eNCA tonight at 21:30 on @eNCA dstv channel 403 & on @etv at 22:00 #checkpoint@LHR_SA @DOD_SANDF @r2kcampaign pic.twitter.com/UiSEhjWAJo
— Checkpoint_eNCA (@Checkpoint_eNCA) May 29, 2018
Right2Know, a rights organisation who has been working on the case for the Marievale residents, have reported that the SANDF’s Colonel Mkhize went to the Dunnottar Police Station to try and urge the South African Police Service (SAPS) to arrest the Marievale residents and evict them from Happiness Village.
#Marievale – SANDF’s Colonel Mkhize was reportedly at Dunnottor police station yesterday to urge SAPS to do an operation at Happiness Village to “arrest foreigners”.
The police REFUSED. We heard they even read the court order to Col Mkhize! @LHR_SA
— Right2Know (@r2kcampaign) May 29, 2018
Happiness Village is the informal settlement where the evicted residents of the Marievale community have been living. However, the police refused to do so and instead reportedly showed the 9 May court order to the colonel, prohibiting further evictions.
A member of the Marievale community told The Daily Vox: “What was happening for the past two days, the military went to the Dunnottar Police Station. They wanted to make a joint operation to go and raid Happiness Village, to go and detain families. They were claiming they wanted to get rid of foreigners and undocumented people in Happiness Village.”
However, the resident said because the community has the court order, the SANDF are not even allowed to come to the village. “So I went to the police station yesterday and spoke to the officer there and he told me that the police did come there and they were demanding them [the police] to make that kind of operation and then the police responded and said they are not going to assist them with such operations because it is unlawful,” he said.
The resident said the police have maintained that if they want to do a police operation, the police must follow the law and go to the courts to obtain a court order. He said the police said they cannot take the law into their own hands. “The operation was supposed to happen on the 6th of June which is not going to be anymore because the SAPS didn’t entertain those stories,” he said.
According to the court order, the SANDF has 30 days from the date of the court to provide alternative accommodation to the Marievale community. The resident said to The Daily Vox they are still counting and waiting for the 30 days to be over.
The Daily Vox team has been covering the Marievale situation from the beginning. Check out the rest of our coverage here.