Outcry over ‘brutal’ evictions by army

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It has emerged that a nine-day-old infant is among 120 people left homeless after they were evicted by the SA National Defence Force in Marievale, Ekurhuleni last week.

Those evicted claimed they were abused and assaulted, with some being hospitalised. The SANDF meanwhile insisted that its soldiers acted within the law during the eviction as the property belonged to it.

Capt Johannes Sifundza, who is a military veteran and a police officer in Ekurhuleni, was hospitalized in a critical condition after he was reportedly assaulted by soldiers during the eviction.

“I have been living in the area since 1996 when I was still in the military. I complied since I had planned to move that Thursday, yet 16 army officers stormed and started assaulting me. They left me to die and I had to call my father to take me to the hospital,” Sifundza said.

Marievale is military property which stood unoccupied since 2002 after which people moved into the houses earmarked for army officers.

Community leader Christopher Koitsioe claimed the houses were allocated to residents by the government. The SANDF insisted the property is managed according to the prescripts of all military facilities.

The dispute went to court in 2015 which halted evictions, only for the military to return last week.

The parents of little Noma Moyane built a makeshift structure near their former home where they now live with the baby.

They rely on hand-outs and food parcels to survive since they were evicted at the weekend.

“We don’t have anywhere else to go. We want to live in the barracks since they were abandoned, we have been living here since 2014,” Robert Moyane said.

Some of those evicted were arrested and charged with intimidation.

On Friday they went to court but the case was dismissed.

“I have been living here since 2009, my four children were born here, this is the only home they know,” one of the people evicted, who asked not to be named said.

Those evicted urged the Human Rights Commission to intervene.

Meanwhile, Ward 88 councillor Wollaston Labuschagne said he was aware of the brutal nature of the evictions.

“The high court granted an interdict instructing the SANDF to stop evictions. Unfortunately, on Friday when the sheriff served the interdict, the commanding officer name refused to take it and continued with evictions,” Labuschagne said.

The SANDF could not comment immediately on the matter.

Detectives from Dunnottar police station where a number of assault cases were reported said they were investigating the allegations.

ntombin@thenewage.co.za

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