WINDHOEK – Suspended Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Managing Director Zelna Hengari lodged an urgent application against the parastatal’s board, but reversed her decision before the court proceedings took off.
She wanted the Windhoek High Court to review and set aside a decision by the board not to renew her contract with the resorts company.
The decision was communicated to her in January of this year - about six months before her current contract expires on July 16.
Efforts to get the reason for her decision to withdraw the application were met with silence by her legal representative, Sisa Namandje, who said he is not at liberty to discuss the matter. Documents filed with the court, however, reveal that the board, instead of having substantive and deliberate discussions on her performance during her tenure as MD, took the decision to not renew her contract.
Hengari however was not satisfied with the decision and communicated her dissatisfaction to the board through her legal representatives.
According to her, a written notice not to renew the employment contract is not a mere formal and mechanical step.
“It must be a product of real, substantive and fair deliberation by the board with due regard to my right to be heard ahead of any adverse decision,” she said.
According to Hengari, the termination and renewal of her contract is subject to the recruitment framework which is developed by the Ministry of Public Enterprises, which overrides any other law.
She further said that the framework requires from the board to meet six months prior to the expiry of her contract and evaluate her performance and only then take a decision whether or not to renew her contract.
“The above provisions create a right in my favour upon breach of which I have a remedy in public law,” She stressed and continued: “Further the fact that the termination of my contract is subject to the Recruitment Framework and other statutory requirements made in terms of the State Owned Enterprises Governance Act (SOEG) plainly means there is a public law and administrative duty on the part of the board to meet and evaluate my performance with a view to taking a decision.”
She added that the board should have met in accordance with the law and take a substantive but fair, rational and reasonable decision which they have failed to do.
According to Hengari, it is unlawful and irregular for the board to have made the decision on a round robin basis contrary to the provisions of the Recruitment Framework
She further said that the decision by the board is further aggravated by the fact that they considered irrelevant factors and acted capriciously when it came to the non-renewal of her contract.
“I have performed exceptionally well over the last five years and have been in position to demonstrate this had I been given a fair and reasonable opportunity to make representations,” Hengari stated.