Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni has declined to consider for a second time the application of Johannes Koopman to become chief of the Blouwes Traditional Authority.
In court papers filed yesterday, Uutoni said the ministry has already considered Koopman’s application and declined it in 2015 after investigations indicated that there was uncertainty over how BTA customary laws on succession operate.
“It was, therefore, difficult to safely conclude as to whom between the two contestants is the rightful successor of late chief Hans Titus,” the minister stated. Uutoni said the only possible solution was to hold elections, where Koopman and his contender David Gertze would compete to succeed late chief Titus, who died in 2009. However, the elections never took place on 19 July 2016 as planned after a majority boycotted the event.
The BTA, alongside chairman Johannes Baardman, amended their request to the court for it to now direct Uutoni to consider Koopman’s application within 30 days.
Initially, the BTA wanted a court to order Uutoni to set aside the declaration of there being a chieftaincy dispute within the traditional authority, and to consider Koopman as chief.
The BTA claims that Uutoni unlawfully failed to properly consider Koopman’s application for chieftaincy.
Sophia Shaningwa, who in 2016 was the minister of urban and rural development, said the succession dispute has been ongoing since 2009 between BTA clans, the //Haboben and !Kharo-!Oan.
“There was no report on the succession history nor customary law regarding the designation of a chief of the Blouwes traditional community,” said Shaningwa.
The hearing of the matter is scheduled to take place on 29 April before judge Eileen Rakow. The parties have since been ordered to file their papers by 28 April.
The BTA is based in the //Kharas region.