26 November 2012

Namibia: MUN's Ndeutepo Will Attend Swapo Congress

THE suspended president of the Mineworkers' Union of Namibia (MUN), John Ndeutepo, has not been invited to this week's Swapo congress on a union ticket.

As a result, MUN could not block him from attending the congress.

Ndeutepo yesterday confirmed that he would be attending the congress as part of the Karas regional structures.

He also said that he did not plan to challenge an interim High Court ruling which was granted against him late on Thursday.

The High Court upheld his suspension from the union in its interim ruling.

Ndeutepo said he would wait for the return date of the case on January 18 "and state my case clearly".

He accused fellow union members of conniving with political and business leaders "to suffocate the interests of the workers".

On Saturday, the group who brought the urgent application against Ndeutepo under the leadership of MUN vice president Mike Heita held a press conference where they said that "the one element that contributed to the success of the urgent verdict is our constitution".

Heita said it was a pity that those who were supposed to protect the constitution "and understand it better than anyone else were the ones who attacked the authority of the constitution and all principles enshrined in it".

The alleged failure by Ndeutepo and Jonas Lumbu, the suspended general secretary, to comply with national executive committee (NEC) resolution was a direct attack on the authority of the NEC, Heita said.

Acting Judge Petrus Unengu on Thursday granted an application by the MUN to bar Ndeutepo from the union's offices in Katutura and to stop him from interfering with the activities of the MUN, its employees, agents and office bearers.

He was also stopped from acting or purporting to act on behalf of the union.

As a result of the ruling against him, Ndeutepo will have to return a Toyota Corolla belonging to the union.

He and Lumbu also had their suspension by the NEC enforced.

Ndeutepo was represented by Boris Isaacks, while Werner Boesak acted on behalf of MUN on instructions of Clement Daniels.

During the urgent application on Thursday, Boesak argued that Ndeutepo had no authority to suspend NEC members earlier. "That power was not vested in him. The president did not appoint the NEC members, they were appointed."

Ndeutepo had suspended nine NEC members and then reinstated five later over alleged "clandestine activities".

After Ndeutepo's suspension by the NEC, he allegedly "raged on like a bull", Boesak argued. He allegedly also withdrew union funds after his suspension.

Boesak argued that the union was in limbo as a result of the fight between Ndeutepo and the rest of the union's NEC members. "This person, this individual, seems to have taken over the union as his own."

Ndeutepo also came under fire for allegedly tampering with the union's constitution.

Isaacks unsuccessfully argued that Heita had no authority to bring the urgent application.

Acting Judge Unengu dismissed this with costs.

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