Squatter law hearing set for December

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Squatter law hearing set for December

The long-awaited hearing on the constitutional challenge of the Squatter Proclamation AG, 21 of 1985 is scheduled for December.

The matter, which is expected to be heard by a full bench of judges in the High Court, is set to start on 6 December.

Judge Collins Parker has ordered Dimbulukeni Nauyoma to file his heads of argument on or before 23 November. The government has been ordered to file supplementary heads of argument on or before 30 November.

The court has also allowed prosecutor general Martha Imalwa, and the police chief to be part of the proceedings. According to Parker, as implementers of the law, they have an interest in the outcome of the matter. 

Nauyoma is seeking a court order declaring the Squatters Proclamation AG, 21 of 1985 unconstitutional and for it to be repealed.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 unlawful 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 has 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On the order to have the proclamation repealed, Uutoni noted that Nauyoma is in essence inviting the court to legislate, that is, to perform the constitutional function of the Legislature.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.

In his fight, Nauyoma is represented by Kadhila Amoomo while Dennis Khama is representing the government.