May 20, 2014

Rehoboth Basters: High Court Prohibits Land Allocation

The Windhoek High Court issued an order prohibiting the Rehoboth Baster Community to allocate land to its people. 

Below is an article published by The Namibian:

The Rehoboth Town Council on Friday [16 May 2014] obtained an interim court order that prohibits the Rehoboth Bastergemeente and its leader, Kaptein John NcNab, from continuing to allocate plots of land at the town to people. McNab and another leading member of the Rehoboth Bastergemeente (Rehoboth Baster Community), Jan van Wyk, consented to the issuing of the interim interdict against themselves during a hearing that took place before Judge Harald Geier in the Windhoek High Court.

The courtroom where an urgent application by the Rehoboth Town Council against the Rehoboth Bastergemeente, McNab and Van Wyk was being heard was packed to capacity by members of the Rehoboth community, who heard Van Wyk asking the judge to be given 30 days to obtain legal representation in the matter.

Van Wyk, who addressed the court on behalf of the Rehoboth Bastergemeente and McNab, agreed that an interim order could be made after he at first offered an undertaking that the division and allocation of land by the Rehoboth Bastergemeente – the historical, pre-Independence government of the Rehoboth area – would be stopped while the case was pending. Van Wyk’s undertaking alone was not good enough for Thabang Phatela and Christopher Stanley, the lawyers who represented the town council, though.

The Rehoboth Town Council is claiming that the Rehoboth Bastergemeente has since early this year been surveying and dividing unoccupied land belonging to the town council and has started to allocate plots of land to people. The town council is claiming that it alone has the lawful right to divide and allocate land that forms part of the Rehoboth townlands.

The town council is also claiming that the laws that gave the Rehoboth Bastergemeente authority over the Rehoboth area and land in the area have been repealed – something confirmed by both the High Court and the Supreme Court in judgements delivered in 1993 and 1996 respectively – and that the Rehoboth Bastergemeente is now trying to reassert its authority based on laws that no longer exist.

The interim interdict is at this stage in effect until 17 June.