Windhoek — The Labour Court last Friday issued a court interdict restraining expelled National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) secretary general Evilastus Kaaronda from instigating teachers who have been striking over wages.
The same interdict - that came a week after striking teachers suffered a legal setback - ordered striking teachers to end their illegal strike with immediate effect. Kaaronda came into the spotlight again when the Minister of Education and the government went to court to stop him from meddling in the ongoing strike by teachers.
On Friday, Judge Collins Parker ordered Kaaronda to stop interfering in the "contractual relationship between government and its employees in the public service".
The applicants also asked that Kaaronda be restrained from unlawfully "instigating" government employees to stay away from work without following the procedures in the Labour Act relating to the declaration of a strike. It was further asked that the court should declare the instigation and incitement of government employees by Kaaronda as unlawful.
This was the second time that the government and the education minister had to go to court to force the striking teachers back to school. Judge Kato van Niekerk granted an interdict in the High Court more than a week ago declaring the strike unlawful and ordered teachers not to demonstrate in front of the Government Office Park.
This prompted the teachers, whose numbers have swelled after they were joined by nurses and other civil servants, to move their illegal assembly to the Khomasdal Stadium. The teachers who at first denied that they were striking, said they only wanted to hand over a petition to a "person of stature in the ministry", stating their displeasure at the lengthy negotiations between government, Nantu and Napwu.
Teachers are demanding a 40 percent salary increase, and they rejected government's offer of 8 percent and vowed to continue with their action until their demands are met.
Nurses have also joined the strike bandwagon and are threatening to go on strike tomorrow.
Government narrowly averted a strike by police officers by declaring that they deliver an essential service and as such are not allowed to strike.
In the latest legal wrangle, the Labour Court within the High Court made its voice heard when Judge Parker found that the first court order has been disobeyed and ordered all the respondents to appear in court tomorrow to show cause why they should not be found in contempt of court and sentenced to imprisonment or a fine or both.
Kaaronda could face further legal troubles as both he and his lawyer, Jeffrey Tjitemisa of Tjitemisa and Associates were conspicuous in their absence and were ordered by the judge to show up tomorrow.
The Minister of Education and the government are both represented by Sisa Namandje on instructions from the Government Attorney's Office.
The respondents were the Interim Khomas Teachers Strategic Committee and all persons forming part of the collective body as the first respondent, Kaaronda as the second respondent, Mahongora Kavihuha (president of TUN) as the third respondent, Dankie Katjiuanjo as the fourth respondent, Elfrieda Mwagbo as the fifth respondent and Josef Katjingisiua as the sixth respondent.
Advocate Steve Rukoro, on instructions from Joshua Kaumbi from Kaumbi-Shikale Incorporated, appeared on behalf of the Interim Khomas Teachers Strategic Committee.