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Suspended Gobabis 6 suffer court loss

2021-11-10  Maria Amakali

Suspended Gobabis 6 suffer court loss
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The Gobabis municipality says it will forge ahead with the disciplinary action of four managers and two junior employees who were suspended for alleged misconduct in August. 

“We will proceed with the disciplinary hearing on which the staff members were suspended and all due processes will take place,” said Sylvester Binga, chairperson of the management committee. Binga made the comments yesterday after High Court Judge Hosea Angula dismissed the group’s application on lack of urgency. 

He also struck the matter off the court roll and ordered them to pay the cost for the application. Angula indicated the reasons for the order will be made available at a later stage. 

The group comprised of human
resources executive Frieda Shimakeleni, electrical services manager Johannes Nantuua, human resource manager Ashipala Shilemba, finance and IT and procurement manager Fillemon Makili, IT technician Paul Kayambu and IT officer Kondjeni Nghiwanapo. 

They had approached the court on an urgent basis seeking an order declaring
their suspension as unlawful, invalid and should be set aside. They further sought an order declaring council meetings and resolutions passed on various dates in May, July and August as invalid and of no force. 

The officials also wanted the court to set aside the appointment of Steve Adonis as the acting CEO of the Gobabis municipality and any decision he may have taken. 

The six were suspended in August for allegedly disobeying or disregarding work-related orders, revealing confidential information about council to unauthorised persons, and interfering or tampering with evidence relating to another ongoing investigation. The group argued in court that they were never afforded the opportunity to be heard and subsequently defend themselves against the allegation. 

They claimed their suspension was a concerted and calculated campaign of tribal victimisation and harassment. They said due to the manner in which they were suspended, they continue to be stigmatised. The Gobabis municipal council said the argument by the group that they were suspended on tribal ground is unfounded. The group allegedly failed to give evidence of either documents or utterances of their allegations.  

“There is no reference to tribe in any of the documents which form part of the record. The fact that applicants are members of a specific tribe is perhaps simply a coincidence and has no bearing on the reasons for their suspension,” indicated the council in their heads of arguments.  The suspended six were represented by Sisa Namandje and Gilroy Kasper, while Marcy Kuzeeko represented the Gobabis municipal council.

2021-11-10  Maria Amakali

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