Covid-19 has claimed another scalp in the form of a trial that needed to be postponed because one of the lawyers either had contact with a positive person and is in isolation or contracted the virus themselves. This time around, it is the criminal trial of Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement activist Dimbulukeni Nauyoma.
Magistrate Olga Likando had to postpone the matter in which Nauyoma was supposed to plead to charges of hindering a person and entering upon land, all in contravention of Section 2 of Proclamation AG 21 of 1985 to 4 April next year. The reason given was that the prosecutor dealing with the matter is in isolation after coming into contact with a Covid-19 positive person.
The matter was previously put on hold to wait for the High Court’s ruling in which he is challenging the Squatters Proclamation Act.
Nauyoma was arrested on 18 January 2019, when he allegedly attempted to stop Windhoek City Police officers from demolishing a shack belonging to Okuryangava resident, a 33-year-old single mother of two, Wilhemina Shipingana.
Police reported at the time that Nauyoma and other activists tried to rebuild Shipingana’s shack.
The police then arrested Nauyoma along with Emilia Simon, Tuhafeni Kamati, Wilhem Mapele and Ismael Kalumbu, who have since been released on a warning and have not been charged.
At the time, Shipingana told New Era that her shack was initially demolished in the morning after she refused to have sexual intercourse with the man who gave her a piece of land to build her shack in December 2018.
Shipingana said the community and Nauyoma rebuilt the shack on the land while trying to get another place. Her shack was again demolished after it was rebuilt During his arrest, Nauyoma allegedly sustained injuries on his shoulder and ribs.
AR resorted to High Court, which ordered the police at Wanaheda Police Station to take him to Rhino Park private hospital. Nauyoma was then transferred to Windhoek Central Hospital, where he was under police guard.
However, on 15 September, Nauyoma approached the High Court, seeking an order declaring the Squatters Proclamation AG, 21 of 1985 as unconstitutional.
The particular act, amongst many things, provides for the removal of persons unlawfully occupying land or buildings, and for the demolition of structures that are unlawfully erected. In his affidavit, Nauyoma is arguing that the Act does not make provisions for circumstances under which unlawful land occupiers obtained the land.