The case in which University of Namibia employee Frednard Gideon is challenging a Namibia University of Science and Technology’s decision to appoint Erold Naomab ahead of him as vice chancellor will only be heard next year.
High Court Judge Hannelie Prinsloo has scheduled the hearing to take place on 22 March 2022, ordering the parties to file their heads of argument in the meantime.
In November 2020, Gideon, who lost out on the vice chancellor position at NUST, filed an application before the High Court, seeking an order that will set aside any employment agreement and remuneration entered into by NUST and Naomab to be declared invalid.
Naomab was announced as NUST vice chancellor by the institution’s council on 13 November 2020.
He subsequently signed his employment offer on 13 November last year.
In his application, Gideon is claiming he was overlooked for the position despite being found to be the overall best performer during the recruitment process and recommended for the position by the joint selection committee.
The shortlisted candidates went through a selection process, which comprised of psychometric assessments, a presentation and an interview, focused on key performance areas.
According to court documents, Gideon scored 68% in two quantitative assessments, while Naomab scored 64%.
However, their scores are below the 70% mark set for the top candidate.
In respect of the interview, Naomab got a total score of 64, whilst Gideon scored 67.
For public presentation, Gideon obtained a score of 73.44, while Naomab scored 74.48.
However, NUST council chairperson Florette Nakusera, in an affidavit, said Gideon did not “massively outperform” Naomab in the interview.
“The difference in the scores they attained respectively was marginal. Importantly, neither of them achieved the required quantitative threshold score of 70%,” said Nakusera.
But based on the psychometric tests and background reference, Naomab was the stronger candidate, she argued.
Nakusera explained the selection process was not based on a singular criterion but a holistic consideration of all information on the candidates.
The appointment of Naomab was endorsed by a majority in two different bodies of the university.
Nakusera said, when Gideon was contacted for reference as then immediate superior of Naomab at the University of Namibia, his assessment about him was fair and objective.
“One might say they were the best evidence,” she said, while dismissing Gideon’s notion that he was overlooked as misplaced.