Abolish obsolete laws, Geingob urges judiciary

Home National Abolish obsolete laws, Geingob urges judiciary

WINDHOEK- President Hage Geingob says the judiciary system should ensure all unjust laws from the apartheid-era are replaced with just laws in a democratic Namibia.  

In December, the National Assembly vowed that it is determined to get rid of the existing 143 obsolete laws after the Minister of Justice Sacky Shanghala tabled the long-awaited Repeal of Obsolete Laws Bill (Bill No 21 of 2018) in the National Assembly in November last year. 

The Bill provides for the repeal of certain obsolete laws and for incidental matters. 
Many of these laws, by-laws, regulations, proclamations and ordinances are discriminatory on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed and social and economic status.

Some of the obsolete laws that Parliament wants to repeal started being implemented from 1915.
Therefore, parliamentarians reasoned that most of these laws were crafted with the intention to enforce apartheid white supremacy, to instil racial segregation, divide and rule Namibian people based on ethnic lines and to dehumanise them.
“We displaced the apartheid regime, which was a perverted form of government and replaced it with a true form of government. For this reason, our people cannot continue to be subjected to archaic and discriminatory laws anymore,” Geingob remarked yesterday when he addressed the justice system fraternity in Windhoek.     
Furthermore, he said it is imperative that they introduce laws to help combat a number of social ills that are hampering socio-economic progress in Namibia. 

 According to him, as he recognises the effort and commitment made with the view to improving the wellbeing of all citizens, he noted with concern the prevalence of incidents of gender-based violence within communities.   
He maintained it is a source of great concern that the nation continues to lose innocent lives, especially those of women and girls, as a result of gender-based violence, perpetrated mostly by men.   

He is however pleased by the various initiatives introduced by the stakeholders in the criminal justice system as part of the process of intensifying the ongoing campaign to combat gender-based violence in the country.  
Geingob therefore urged all institutions involved in law and decision making to continue working tirelessly to find solutions to these heinous crimes.  

Making her contribution during the Repeal of Obsolete Laws Bill (Bill No 21 of 2018) in the National Assembly in December, Swapo Chief Whip Evelyn !Nawases-Taeyele said she is in support of the initiative of the Minister of Justice to get rid of obsolete laws. 

“When we speak of obsolete laws, we are referring to laws that are outdated and no longer responsive to a democratic Namibia. Some of these laws are very old, laws that were passed then, to meet a particular emergency and then just stayed in place. I believe that the Ministry of Justice and the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC] will be best placed to inform us why there was a delay in repealing these laws,” she noted. 

In 2010, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs conducted regional consultations in the Zambezi, Kavango East and West, and Otjozondjupa regions. 

The regional consultations focused on the accessibility of the Namibian legal and justice system. Concerns and frustrations with regards to obsolete and outdated laws also emanated from those public consultations. 
In its final report tabled in June 2011, that committee made specific recommendations requesting the LRDC to review, amend, or repeal some of the outdated pieces of legislations. 

The laws the committee identified at the time were the Administration of Estates Act No 66 of 1965; The Wills Acts: No 7 of 1953; Intestate Succession Ordinance No 12 of 1944, Schedule 2 of the Administration of Estates (Rehoboth Gebiet), Proclamation No 36 of 1941, Laws regulating marriages north of the Red Line, Pension Fund Act and the Divorce Law. The committee recommended that the Ministry of Justice expedite the enactment of a statute dealing with divorce proceedings and provide for a no-fault grounds system. 

However, the Swapo Chief Whip said she is informed that this process is underway. 
Further, she said divorce proceedings can be expensive and lengthy, which is an issue that touches on access to justice that equally requires urgent attention.

Parliament recently passed the law and regulation regarding town, urban and regional planning through the Urban and Regional Planning Act (No 5 of 2018).

The intention of the Bill is to remove 143 proclamations, ordinances and Acts from the statute books, through the Repeal of Obsolete Laws Bill.