[Update, 30 Nov: After a small picket at the barracks at Marievale on 29 Nov, two community members were reportedly arrested by military police. They are believed to have been assaulted, and documents and mobile devices confiscated. They are now being held at Dunnottar SAPS station]
The community of Marievale in Nigel, on the outskirt of Ekurhuleni is calling on the government and the Human Rights Commision to urgently intervene in stopping the continuous harassment metered out by the members of the South African National Defence Force.
It is believed that the community is being threatened with illegal evictions after coal was discovered in the area. According to community members, the Army is currently occupying the area using 21 BN as a show of force to intimidate residents. “They conduct operations during the night, they storm and invade people’s privacy and peace carrying their R5 rifles which traumatises civilians and children”, said one community member.
Marievale was officially shut down and abandoned as a military base in 1996, and gradually the land was occupied by homeless families and military veterans and their families. As community members we vow to fight against these illegal evictions. SANDF has no court order and has not provided an alternative accommodation for us as required by the law, so we view these evictions as unlawful no matter who is carrying them out.
Also we note that this is not the first time the SANDF acted in this way. It has come to our attention that they used a similar method to a community in Pretoria and became successful without any form of challenge hence they are using the same strategy and tactics against our community. We will not move!
Sent on behalf of Marievale residents by: Busi Mtabane, R2K. 0214471000