New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Court Says Kaaronda Case Not Urgent

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Windhoek — Acting Judge Petrus Unengu in the High Court on Tuesday dismissed an urgent application by Evilastus Kaaronda to be reinstated in his former union post, pending the finalisation of his case in the Labour Court.

Kaaronda, the expelled secretary general of the Namibian National Workers Union (NUNW), lodged the application in the High Court asking for the matter to be heard on an urgent basis.

He wanted the court to grant an order declaring his dismissal about three weeks ago as secretary general and an employee of the union as contrary to the provisions of the NUNW constitution; that his dismissal was not valid and without fair reason; and that it was procedurally unfair and therefore null and void.

He further asked the court to order the NUNW to restore him to his position as secretary general with effect from October 30, 2012.

Advocate Andrew Corbett, SC, instructed by Jeffrey Tjitemisa of Tjitemisa and Associates on behalf of Kaaronda argued that the matter is one of urgency, since he (Kaaronda) was mandated by the workers to take the issue of the GIPF scandal to the Swapo Party Congress due in about a week.

He argued that as a leader of the workers, elected by a vast majority, Kaaronda should be allowed to attend the Swapo Party Congress as a representative of the workers.

With their unlawful action, Corbett argued, the NUNW leadership ostensibly denied workers their right to send their leader to air their grievances at the said congress.

According to Corbett, the GIPF matter is a hot potato where the leadership of the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) and the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) are involved and that Kaaronda's public denouncements of them is what directly led to his expulsion from the umbrella body.

The legal team of the NUNW, led by Adv Gerson Hinda and assisted by Adv Sackey Alweendo on instructions from Sisa Namandje argued that there is no urgency to Kaaronda's application. Hinda argued that there was no reason for the matter to be heard on an urgent basis, saying the Labour Commissioner has already set down the date of November 30 to hear the matter.

He said the only link Kaaronda had to the congress was on the ticket of the NUNW as its secretary general. He also argued that this road was now cut short for Kaaronda by his dismissal and further said that it was not a matter of fact that he will attend the congress.

He argued that if the court granted the urgent application then it (court) could become the first call in cases of unfair dismissal, opening the floodgates to the extent that even a sweeper or cleaner that was dismissed could approach the High Court on an urgent basis.

After deliberating for about five seconds, Judge Unengu rejected the application and struck it from the roll.

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