Former Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) managing director Zelna Hengari’s application, in which she was challenging the board’s decision not to renew her contract, was dismissed with cost by the Windhoek High Court.
Acting Judge Kobus Miller said the employment contract between Hengari and NWR provided for a fixed term of five years, renewable at the discretion of NWR.
“The decision not to renew the contract cannot be labelled as the exercise of public power but instead the implementation of the terms of the agreement,” explained Miller.
In May 2020, Hengari approached the court, seeking orders, declaring that the appointment of a new NWR board on 14 March 2016 by the minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste was unlawful and should be null and void.
“The board was not gazetted; thus, the second respondent acted unlawfully and violated his constitutional functions and duties as outlined by the Constitution,” said Hengari in her affidavit.
According to Hengari, the termination and renewal of her contract is subject to the recruitment framework, developed by the ministry of public enterprises, which overrides any other law.
Furthermore, the decision the board took on 15 January 2019 not to renew her contract should be declared unlawful and set aside, citing that she was not given valid reasons why the board took such a decision.
“The unlawful appointment and subsequent decision of the board not to renew my contract affects me directly, as I have subsequently been left unemployed and still have about six years before the generally accepted retirement age of 60 years,” said Hengari.
Before she was served with a notice that her employment will not be renewed, Hengari was placed on suspension, following allegations that she contracted the company to a public-private partnership (PPP) with Sun Karros Lifestyle Safaris without necessary approval.
She was sent home as precaution she may temper with evidence and witnesses necessary for the investigation against her.
The agreement was signed by NWR on 11 June 2018 and by Sun Karros in May 2018.
According to these previous reports in this publication, Sun Karros is said to have constructed 20 glamorous tents, a restaurant, small pool and ten campsites at NWR’s Sesriem campsite to the tune of
She then sued NWR N$7.5 million for injury to her reputation.