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28 February 2018


The Deputy Judge-President of the High Court, Mr Justice Angula, handed down a recent judgment interdicting the implementation of various rulings of the Valuation Court relating to the payment of land tax.

It has come to the attention of the Society of Advocates that the Deputy Valuer-General made a statement on national television to the effect that Judge Angula, in so making this ruling was biased, should have recused himself from the matter and ought not to have presided as judge in the matter. Whilst fair criticism of a judgment is permissible, an unjustified attack on the integrity of a judge is not. As far as the Society is able to ascertain, there has to date been no public repudiation of this statement by the Minister of Land Reform or any other Government official.

Article 78(2) of the Namibian Constitution provides that "the Courts shall be independent and subject only to this Constitution and the law". Article 78(3) protects this independence by providing that "no member of the Cabinet or the Legislature or any other person shall interfere with Judges or judicial officers in the exercise of their judicial functions, and all organs of the State shall accord such assistance as the Courts may require to protect their independence, dignity and effectiveness, subject to the terms of this Constitution or any other law".

In his address at the opening of the legal year earlier this month, his Excellency Dr Hage Geingob commented that "as the judiciary, you are tasked with the responsibility of being guardians and servants of the law of Namibia, and this is a task you are expected to carry out with patriotism, dedication and integrity". The Head of State further remarked that "we pride ourselves on the independence of our judiciary".

The Society views the scandalous attack by the Deputy Valuer-General on the integrity of the Deputy-Judge President in a very serious light. It is not only a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed independence of the judiciary but an attempt by a senior Government official to undermine the independence of the judiciary, rendered more egregious by the fact that the official involved was a party to the Court proceedings.

The Society calls on His Excellency the President, or the responsible
Minister, to uphold Article 78 of the Namibian Constitution by publicly
distancing government from Mr Thomas's remarks, and confirming that the views expressed violate the constitutional value of the independence of the judiciary enshrined therein.

Adv. G Narib
Society of Advocates of Namibia
28 February 2018


Bar Conference: Belfast 30th June 2008

At the World Bar Conference of the International Council of Advocates and Barristers, (ICAB), held in Belfast on 30th June 2008, the Bars of Australia, England and Wales, Hong Kong. Ireland, Namibia, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and Zimbabwe, being the member Bars of ICAB, unanimously resolved:

  • To deplore the defiance by the Government of Zimbabwe of its human rights obligations under domestic and international law;
  • To call upon the secretariats of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations to initiate all steps necessary to procure the return of the rule of law to Zimbabwe and respect by the Government of Zimbabwe for the rule of law;
  • To condemn the detention without trial of our colleague Eric Matinenga, Member of Parliament of Zimbabwe and leader of the Harare Bar and the defiance of the High Court order for his release granted on an urgent basis by the High Court on 14th June 2008;
  • To call upon the members and secretariat of the Southern African Development Community to ensure that independent legal observers are permitted to be present in all courts in Zimbabwe throughout the trials of members of the legal profession who are being prosecuted for alleged offences;
  • To demand that the lawyers of Zimbabwe be permitted without intimidation or penalty to perform their duty to represent and defend their clients and ensure the entitlement of their clients to basic human rights;
  • To demand that the magistrates of Zimbabwe be permitted without intimidation to independently perform their duty's in accordance with the rule of law and to ensure the entitlement to basic human rights;
  • To demand that the Attorney General of Zimbabwe independently and impartially exercise his powers to uphold the rule of law.

Previous Press Releases

28 July 2016 Last month the Namibian Supreme Court, in the De Wilde case, in interpreting Article 4 of the Namibian Constitution, ruled that a child born in Namibia to non-Namibian citizens would be a Namibian citizen by birth where the child’s father or mother was ordinarily resident in Namibia at the time of the birth. In so doing the Supreme Court was exercising its powers in terms of Article 79(2) of the Constitution to interpret, implement and uphold the provisions of the Namibian Constitution. This clear constitutional interpretation of Article 4(1) should have been the final word on the topic. [more]........
8 August 2011 The Society of Advocates of Namibia ("the Society") has noted certain public criticisms of judgments and judges of the High Court of Namibia ("the Court"). This is an unfortunate trend, moreover where such criticism is neither accurate nor fair, and in circumstances where, as the Society has already stated in an earlier press-release, the judiciary cannot enter into public controversy and cannot reply to criticism levelled in this manner. [more]........
22 June 2011 In a recent media release issued by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Hage Geingob ("the Minister"), criticism was levelled against an order handed down by the High Court of Namibia earlier this month concerning an application initiated by Wal-Mart Stores Incorporated, and to which application the Minister was joined as a respondent. [more]........
1 June 2011 The Society of Advocates of Namibia notes, with grave concern, recent developments regarding the Southern African Development Tribunal (“the Tribunal”). [more]........
1 July 2008 The Society of Advocates of Namibia condemns the blatant disregard for the rule of law, and the repeated human rights abuses, occurring in Zimbabwe. [more]........
20 July 2007 The International Council of Barristers and Advocates (ICAB), of which the Faculty of Advocates is a member, has today (20 July 2007) condemned the continuing campaign of intimidation and violence being waged on Zimbabwe's lawyers by Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF regime. [more].........
February 2004 The Society has learnt with grave concern that 13 accused in the Caprivi high treason trial were released by order of Court yesterday and subsequently re-arrested apparently on charges yet to be formulated. [more].........
January 2003
In a recent press report the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Mr Theo-Ben Gurirab is quoted as making a number of allegations about the judiciary to a group of American law students. [more].........
July 2002
The Society of Advocates of Namibia deplores the comments made by Mr Paulus Kapia concerning the Chief Justice of Namibia in his capacity as the Secretary of the Youth League of the ruling party, at a recent meeting held at Keetmanshoop. [more].........