SANDF colonel to appear in court

Alta Smit’s belongings dumped in front of the Port Elizabeth City Hall by armed soldiers Picture: DENEESHA PILLAY
Alta Smit’s belongings
dumped in front of the Port
Elizabeth City Hall by armed soldiers
Picture: DENEESHA PILLAY

The defence force commander who allegedly gave the order for furniture to be dumped on the doorstep of the City Hall has given a statement to police and will appear in the Port Elizabeth High Court today.

According to officials, Forest Hill military base commanding officer Colonel Veli Phakathi met detectives on Tuesday and submitted a statement, after allegedly failing to honour several appointments.

Last week, The Herald’s sister paper Weekend Post revealed he was dodging the police and had allegedly barred soldiers from speaking to detectives.

Due to the many failed attempts by police to meet with Phakathi, a formal letter was sent to the military’s legal affairs department asking that he meet detectives.

On Saturday, following the Weekend Post article, cluster detective commanders intervened and took over the case.

Both the criminal probe and court application were instigated after Alta Smit and two other families were evicted from the base. Smit’s furniture was dumped at the City Hall.

It has been alleged she was illegally occupying the property as she does not work for the military.

Since the incident, police have only obtained one statement from a soldier, who later wanted to retract it, allegedly due to intimidation by Phakathi.

Today, the Department of Public Works, Phakathi and Colonel Desire Fouche are to appear in the Port Elizabeth High Court to explain why they allegedly violated a court order stating that Smit’s goods be returned in good order to her home.

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