WINDHOEK – The People’s Litigation Centre (PLC) and Affirmative Repositioning (AR) are two separate entities comprised of like-minded persons, said the centre’s spokesperson Vilen Hifindaka.
“If AR would violate any human being’s dignity the PLC will institute proceedings against AR in the same manner as they would with any other institution,” remarked Hifindaka.
Hifindaka was explaining the difference between PLC and AR, stating that while there are some overlaps in the aims of individual mandates in terms of socio-economic rights, the centre is an institution which runs and is managed independently on the principle of perpetual succession and functions through legal forums and mechanism.
Hifindaka said PLC was founded in November 2018 and the registration and formation process was done last year.
But at a press conference earlier this year, AR’s Job Amupanda said PLC under AR has been established and registered with the Master of the High Court.
Hifindaka stated the introduction of PLC came about after they noticed the lack of access to legal protection for many Namibians, primarily because of cost implications.
He said at the formation there had been a board of lawyers including himself, Henry Shimutwikeni, Kadhila Amoomo and Mbushandje Ntinda, involved in offering pro bono legal services to the community.
“The formation of PLC was thus a means to centralise the efforts by the board of lawyers and create an independent, perpetual organisation,” he said.
The centre, which is situated at 7 Delius Street, Windhoek West, is a social justice institution which advocates for socio-economic rights in Namibia through concentrated, pronounced governance in respect of the citizenry’s quality of life. The centre’s purpose thus is to champion, through legal mechanism, access to those rights necessary for ordinary Namibians to lead dignified and meaningful lives.
Hifindaka said the centre’s criteria for cases include public interest, which means that the matter must have the gravity to affect Namibians at large. Cases include urban and rural land rights, housing, health care, labour, freedom of expression and media as pressing contemporary issues at the centre’s focal point. Importantly, the centre offers pro bono legal assistance to persons of certain income categories.
Asked what is the difference between PLC and the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), Hifindaka explained PLC’s primary focus is the realisation of social and economic rights rather than civil and political issues. “However, there is no comparison. The work of both centres is directed towards redressing related issues, making them two sides of the same coin.”
About funding, Hifindaka said PLC in the interim runs on donations from members of the legal fraternity and volunteerism, with the litigation carried out on a pro bono basis by lawyers across Namibia. The PLC is currently engaging various civil and civic society institutions to source long-term funding. Umunee Marinee Matundu is its director.