PRETORIA - The fight for Marievale residents to have a roof over their heads hit a delay on Friday as a Pretoria court dismissed an urgent application to have the Minister of Defence held in contempt of court.
The residents were forcibly evicted from their homes on a military base almost a year ago.
The North Gauteng High Court deemed their forced removals illegal and ordered the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to return the families to their homes.
Four months later, residents are calling on the court to arrest top military officials, for failing to obey the order.
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula says she wasn’t aware the court order wasn’t being implemented.
An attorney with the Land and Housing Unit, Louise du Plessis said, “unfortunately the buck stops with the minister. She is the person that must make sure there is compliance with the court order. Our main purpose of being here is to ensure the court order is adhered to and not to imprison people, but that the only way to do it.”
In its arguments, the SANDF says arresting the defence minister and other senior SANDF officials for failing to relocate residents back to their homes won’t assist them in any way.
The court dismissed the resident’s application to hold officials accountable, saying they failed to prove the urgency of the matter.
Residents will now have to wait for another court date, a process that may take months.
Community leaders say they will not give up their fight.