New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Conservancies want legal cost waived

Conservancies want legal cost waived

2023-05-09  John Muyamba

Conservancies want legal cost waived

John Muyamba

Conservancies who have dragged ReconAfrica to court in an attempt to stop exploration on community-managed land, are asking government to waive the legal cost which now stands at N$520 757. This was after the court rejected their July 2022 request for an urgent action to stop the Canadian company’s activities.

The local communities, who lodged an appeal to the minister of environment and tourism to withdraw permission for further drilling activities on their lands in the Kavango regions, will hear on 16 May 2023 whether they must pay the above-mentioned amount. 

Since the dawn of this exploration activities, several conservancies and community forests in the Kavango regions have complained that they have not been adequately consulted, and their consent was neither sought nor given as ReconAfrica cut roads through community forests and drilled inside conservancies for oil and gas. 

“The government and courts must protect the interests of the people, instead of punishing the communities for exercising their constitutional right to stand against unfair treatment,” said Max Muyemburuko, chairperson of the Muduva Nyangana Communal Conservancy while reading the petition recently.  “We will stand firm for our democratic right to protect our environment. Kavango is the only land we have: We speak for the trees that do not have a mouth; we speak for the river that does not have a tongue. We have an unfinished task to conserve the environment for our children, grandchildren and all future generations. This is the very purpose of conservancies and community forests,” he said on behalf of the affected groups.

The affected parties have concluded that the cost order from ReconAfrica’s partner National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) is being done to intimidate Kavango organisations and communities and to deter them from taking further legal action.

They argued that these communities are being exploited, not in the name of actual development, but rather a neo-colonial oil racket. “The court costs can financially ruin the conservancies and community forests set up by the State to protect the environment in the Kavango regions. The imposition of costs on these communities by Namcor and ReconAfrica cannot be justified in any way as being in the national interest. All court cost orders imposed on Kavango communities for standing up to ReconAfrica must be withdrawn,’’ Muyemburoko noted.

The affected group have called upon government for the costs to be waived as they further argued that under the Namibian law, public interest law cases which are levied by underserved communities or individuals are protected from undue costs under the Protective Costs Order rules of the High Court of Namibia

The Legal Assistance Centre represented the community organisations at the High Court in an application to have their appeal to the ministry heard urgently. After the ruling went against them, the LAC received a bill of costs in respect of Namcor on behalf of the government attorney and notification of taxation for another bill drawn in respect of Reconnaissance Energy Africa (Namibia).

Kavango East and West Regional Conservancy and Community Forestry Association, Muduva Nyangana Communal Conservancy Management Committee, Ncumcara Community Forest Management Committee and Katope East Community Forest Management Committee along with Kapinga Kamwalya Communal Conservancy Management Committee, Economic and Social Justice Trust, Women’s Leadership Centre, Nutrition and Food Security Alliance of Namibia, Saving Okavango’s Unique Life (SOUL) and the //Ana-Djeh San Trust and Young Feminists Movement Namibia as well as Pots of Hope were also part of the organisations that participated calling
for exploration activities to be stopped together with Fridays for Future Windhoek and Reinhold Mangundu, a climate

2023-05-09  John Muyamba

Share on social media