Public Works to clean up mess left after Forest Hill eviction

The Public Works Department will clean up the mess the SA National Defence Force left at the home of one of the women evicted from the Forest Hill military base last week.

The department and her lawyers will meet at the house this morning to clean and assess any damage done to the household goods.

This was decided between Alta Smit’s legal representatives and lawyers representing Public Works, the Department of Defence, Colonel Veli Phakathi and Colonel Desiré Fouche.

Judge Glenn Goosen agreed in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday to an interim agreement allowing Public Works to implement the urgent court order issued last Friday.

This includes restoring Smit’s belongings to the house in an orderly fashion and allowing her access.

Smit and her two teenage children were evicted last week from their home of 17 years.

Two other families suffered the same fate.

It is alleged that base commander Phakathi gave the order to evict them.

Smit’s household belongings were dumped at the Port Elizabeth City Hall.

It is still unclear who ordered this.

Late on Friday, Goosen granted a court order obliging the SANDF to return Smit’s belongings to her home.

This was done on Tuesday after her possessions were left in the rain overnight and then left outside for days.

On Wednesday, Smit’s lawyers applied for a contempt of court order from the high court after the SANDF failed to clean up the mess.

Advocate Hannelie Bakker said yesterday the house was left in disarray and the actions of the military were destructive and obstructive.

Smit laid a complaint of malicious damage to property on Saturday, and on Friday acting city manager Johann Mettler made complaints of intimidation, trespassing and illegal dumping.

Phakathi has not yet been interviewed by detectives.

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