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Top court upholds government’s erven appeal

2023-07-27  Roland Routh

Top court upholds government’s erven appeal

Namibia’s apex court has upheld an appeal government and the Presidency lodged against a ruling by the High Court dismissing an exception it filed in the lawsuit of the Affirmative Repositioning Movement against President Hage Geingob over a promise to service 200 000 erven.

Represented by the attorney general’s office, they filed an application to appeal the decision of Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya, who shot down their objection against the particulars of claim in an application by the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement to have government honour their commitment to service 200 000 erven countrywide. 

The meeting between AR leaders and President Hage Geingob was held at State House in July 2015. After the government failed to service the erven as agreed in a meeting, the movement applied to the High Court to have the agreement enforced. 

Government opposed the application and brought an objection that the particulars of claim in the application are vague and embarrassing in some respects and lacks averments in law that are necessary to sustain an action. 

The judge dismissed the objections and ordered the government pay the costs of the matter.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court ordered that the government’s appeal succeeds and that Judge Sibeya’s ruling is altered to read that AR’s particulars of claim are set aside and they are given leave if so minded to file a notice to amend their particulars of claim within one month, failing which the government is granted leave to apply for the dismissal of AR’s action within 10 days of the expiry period of the one month afforded to AR. 

According to Judge of Appeal Sylvester Mainga, who wrote the judgment in concurrence with acting judges of appeal Theo Frank and Shafimana Ueitele, AR’s claim lacks legal efficacy as the parties did not enter into a legally enforceable agreement and that the promises were just policy utterances and nothing else. 

The judge also awarded costs of the suit to the government for both the High Court matter and the appeal to include one instructing and one instructed lawyer. The matter was remitted back to the High Court. 

Kadhila Amoomo, on behalf of AR, said they intend to file an amended particulars of claim soon. The government was represented by advocate Dennis Khama on instructions of the attorney general.

2023-07-27  Roland Routh

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