National Democratic Party leader Martin Lukato has instituted legal action against a local construction company for N$400 000.
He alleges disturbance of his family graves in Chisinzi village in the Zambezi region.
In his particulars of claim, Lukato said EMS Contractors, a company contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform to dig trenches for a water supply project under phase two for Katima Mulilo and Kongola area, failed to do due diligence and thus ended up violating his family’s graves. The pipelines were surveyed to run through Makanga area, particularly Chisinzi village.
Lukato, who is also the headman of Chisinzi, claims before the contractors could commence with their duties, they were required by law to consult and appraise affected communities of the nature and purpose of the construction activities.
“The defendants were further required to consult and obtain the permission of the owners of the properties which might be negatively impacted by the digging of the trenches,” said Lukato.
Failing to consult, the contractors dug trenches running through a graveyard in which a total of eight of Lukato’s family members are laid to rest.
Lukato further said the graves violated belong to his father, mother and two of his brothers. “It is on the foregoing premises that the defendant is liable to the plaintiff for the payment in the amount of N$400 000 for violating and damaging the plaintiff’s family graveyard,” reads Lukato’s court papers. He further noted that had the contractors consulted or employed a local person, such an employee would have informed them of the “existence of the graveyard and alternatively the significance of the Mungongo trees that were planted therein”.
Attempts to resolve the matter through mediation have failed. EMS Contractors through their lawyer Zandré Duvenhage have indicated their intention to oppose the application.
The matter is currently before Judge Thomas Masuku.