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New date for squatter law challenge

2022-02-25  Maria Amakali

New date for squatter law challenge

The High Court has allocated a date for it to hear the legal challenge of the Squatters Proclamation Act of 1985. 

Judge Harald Geier indicated the court would hear the matter on 30 June. He ordered the parties to file their heads of argument on or before 15 June. 

Last year, Geier recalled the matter and ordered it to go through a proper case management for the court to determine that it was ready to proceed for a hearing.

At the time, he indicated that he recalled the matter, which was scheduled for a hearing on 15 June 2021, by judge Kobus Miller on 10 March 2021, after he detected some discrepancies. 

Land activist Dimbulukeni Nauyoma dragged the government and attorney general to court to get the Squatters Proclamation, declared unconstitutional and be repealed. 

The particular Act, among many things, provides for the removal of persons unlawfully occupying land or buildings, and for the demolition of structures that are unlawfully erected.

In court documents, Nauyoma is arguing the Act does not make provisions for circumstances under which land occupiers obtained the land. Furthermore, it does not consider the period that person may have occupied the land from which eviction is being sought. The activist also highlights the Act does not make provision for special consideration of the rights of the elderly, children, disabled persons, and homes that are headed by women – and it further does not give provision for an alternative dispute solution surrounding the unlawful occupation of land.

Government have indicated that they will be opposing the application. On behalf of government, urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni, in his answering affidavit, indicated that Nauyoma is seeking a legislative relief and the court cannot grant such a relief.

On the order to have the proclamation repealed, Uutoni noted that Nauyoma is in essence inviting the court to legislate, that is, to perform the constitutional function of the legislature. Nauyoma, according to Uutoni had an option to approach and engage the National Assembly to consider repealing the proclamation.

Before instituting the legal challenge, Nauyoma was arrested in January 2019 for allegedly attempting to stop Windhoek City Police officers from demolishing a shack belonging to Okuryangava resident and a single mother of two, Wilhelmina Shipingana.   He has been charged with counts of unlawfully entering the land, without having authority to and without lawful cause. He is further charged for obstructing officers of the law from carrying out their duties. 

- mamakali@nepc.com.na


2022-02-25  Maria Amakali

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