22 November 2012

Namibia: Kaaronda Wants Supreme Court's Help

Photo: Leadership
Court logo.

THE fired secretary general of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Evilastus Kaaronda, is considering approaching the Supreme Court to have his dismissal overturned.

This came after Acting Judge Petrus Unengu in the High Court dismissed his urgent application to be reinstated.

Kaaronda's lawyer, Clive Kavendjii, yesterday said they were considering a number of options and going to the country's highest court was also on the table. "We are looking at what is the most practical option."

Kavendjii said they were very disappointed with the High Court ruling. "It was not sound in terms of urgency."

He said they were eagerly awaiting Acting Judge Unengu's reasons for striking the matter from the roll.

Kaaronda had appealed to the High Court for an urgent order to have him reinstated so that he can attend next week's Swapo congress as part of the NUNW delegation.

In an affidavit, Alfred Angula, the acting secretary general of NUNW, said the fact that Kaaronda was selected to represent the union at the Swapo congress was not a reason for an urgent court application.

Kaaronda's selection was based on his position in the union at the time, Angula says.

He said Kaaronda's "not attending [the congress] is of no consequence".

"The agenda of the said congress is set by Swapo and not by the federation [NUNW]." Therefore Kaaronda cannot claim that he will represent the interests of the workers, Angula charged in the affidavit.

Kaaronda has also approached the Office of the Labour Commissioner for intervention, and an arbitration and conciliation meeting is set for November 30 – one day after the start of the Swapo congress.

Angula said in his affidavit that the Labour Act "has established efficient machinery for the settlement of labour disputes. I respectfully submit that applicant [Kaaronda] finds himself in a position no different from any other employee who is dismissed by his or her employer. The Labour Act provides applicant with other effective remedies if respondent [NUNW] is found to have acted unfairly."

In court papers, Kaaronda earlier said that his dismissal was unlawful.

"I have been summarily dismissed without a hearing and without a valid reason by an improperly constituted meeting," he said.

He charged that he was removed in a "highhanded and vexatious manner" and "was not even given the courtesy of being informed about my dismissal but heard about this in the press".

According to him, the main reason for his dismissal was his having "consistently taken up the issue of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) funds".

This issue, he said, reflected negatively on certain NUNW leaders.

Kaaronda was on leave when he was dismissed at an emergency national executive committee meeting.

In the court documents, he said the meeting that dismissed him needed "necessary resolutions to establish that they were mandated to call a meeting and attend an 'emergency' meeting. I deny that there was any such emergency."

Kaaronda maintained that his dismissal was in contravention of the NUNW's constitution. The affiliate unions who attended the meeting where he was fired "had no mandate to call the meeting and to attend it", he charged.

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