The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) has been ordered to vacate a private shooting range in the district of Rehoboth after the lawful owners approached the Windhoek High Court on an urgent basis to evict them from the premises they unlawfully occupied.
Acting High Court Judge Claudia Claasen granted the Rehoboth Shooters Club the orders they asked for after the NDF and the minister of defence decided not to oppose the urgent application. The club asked the high court to order the NDF and the minister to restore undisturbed possession and occupation to them and to evict the NDF from the premises. They also asked Judge Claasen to interdict and restrain the NDF from unlawfully interfering with the club’s possession and occupation of the premises and to pay the costs of the application. The judge granted all the orders asked for including the order for costs.
According to an affidavit by John Henry Eiman, the chairman of the club, the club has been in occupation of the premises since 2004 when they approached the Rehoboth Town Council to be allocated the premises situated about 7km outside Rehoboth on the road to Klein Aub. Once they were allocated the land they fenced in the premises, erected a signpost with their name and a gate which is secured with a padlock.
They further constructed ablution facilities and a water reservoir of 2 500 litres. On the premises is also a shipping container, where the club stores its moveable assets such as chairs, tables, gun rests and targets. They also erected a roof structure and all was financed by the club members.
He went on to say that on December 18 last year he learnt that members of the NDF had entered the premises, broke the padlock on the gate, removed their sign and erected a sign that depicted the area as a military zone. After these developments, Eiman said, he and another member of the club proceeded to the military base of the NDF outside Rehoboth and spoke to a Lieutenant Colonel Haufiku, and raised their concerns about the unlawful occupation of the premises. They were however informed to contact the minister of defence as he (Haufiku) only takes order from him and he could not answer any of their questions, and provided them with a number of a General Kashopola, but it remained unavailable. They then approached the Rehoboth Town Council, but did not receive any assistance from them. Thereafter they approached the Rehoboth Police Station, but also in vain, as the police did not want to assist them.
They then searched for a legal representative and managed to get hold of Norman Tjombe who advised them to lodge a criminal complaint of trespassing and breaking and entering against the NDF members, which they did. Eiman further states in his affidavit that he then instructed Tjombe to address an urgent letter to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, but to date had not received any response, upon which they decided to approach the high court on an urgent basis.
According to Eiman, the matter is sensitive as their members will not be allowed to enter the premises as the NDF is in occupation and this will create serious conflict between the members of the club and the members of the NDF. The situation is simply intolerable, he stressed.