Witvlei Meat’s fight continues for a fair share in beef export

WINDHOEK: Witvlei Meat will continue with the fight to get a fair share in the Norway export beef quota and might take the matter up to the Supreme Court.

Witvlei Chairperson Sydney Martin bemoaned on Monday that the allocation process of the beef quota was not done fairly and procedurally.

“It is quite evident that there was mal fide, a total misrepresentation and a total lie. Cabinet could not react or made a decision if true facts are not put through to Cabinet. We are of a strong believe that procedurally, this was not done correctly and we are reserving our rights if judgment is not going to be in our favour through the review process to take the matter to the Supreme court of Namibia,” he stated during an interview with Nampa.

Export beef producer Witvlei meat started with the second leg of the case, according to Martin which is a review process for the court to determine if the quota allocation process was done correctly. Martin stated that as part of the review process, letters were already forwarded to the Office of the Government Attorney to provide Witvlei with the information that the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein provided to Cabinet to take a decision on the allocation of the beef export quota.

The review process followed after a third attempt ended in failure in the Windhoek High Court last month when Witvlei challenged a decision to decrease its quota to export beef duty-free to Norway. Judge Dave Smuts dismissed an urgent application in which Witvlei Meat was asking the High Court to grant an interim order that would stop the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) from exporting more than 800 tonnes of beef to Norway while another case lodged by Witvlei Meat in January is still pending in the High Court.

Martin also accused Schlettwein for acting male fide and with bad intentions during the allocation of the beef export quota.

According to him, the Meat Board of Namibia on 07 Nov 2013 made it “very, very clear only two parties that are eligible to export beef was Meatco and Witvlei.”

This communication was forwarded to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Malan Lindeque that same day. But Schlettwein on 27 November 2013 in his submission to Cabinet indicated that there are three European Union (EU) approved abattoirs to export beef to Norway.

Cabinet decided in August 2010 that Namibia’s quota to export 1 600 tonnes of beef a year to Norway free of trade tariffs would be shared equally by Meatco and Witvlei Meat. Each of the companies has been entitled to export 800 tonnes of duty-free beef to Norway each year since then.

The quota allocation was changed in late December last year, when Schlettwein decided to allocate an export quota of 100 tons to the Keetmanshoop-based Brukkaros Meat Processors for 2014, while the share of the quota allocated to Meatco was increased to 1 200 tonnes and Witvlei Meat’s share for 2014 was cut to 300 tonnes. However, Martin said the court documents in his possession indicated that Brukkaros has no EU approval yet to export beef to Norway.

“Witvlei plays an important role in the Witvlei community and surrounding areas of the Omaheke Region. As such, Witvlei should be granted an opportunity to inform Cabinet about its activities, and its contributions to the fiscus of this country,” he added.

(edited)WINDHOEK: Witvlei Meat will continue its fight to get a fair share in the Norway export beef quota, and might take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Sydney Martin, the chairperson of Witvlei Meat an export beef producer, told Nampa here on Monday the allocation process of the beef quota was not done fairly and procedurally.

He said it is quite evident there was “mala fide, a total misrepresentation and a total lie”.

“Cabinet could not react or make a decision if true facts are not put through to Cabinet. We are of a strong believe that procedurally, this was not done correctly, and we are reserving our rights if judgment is not going to be in our favour through the review process to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Namibia,” he said.

Martin said Witvlei Meat started with the second leg of the case, which is a review process for the court to determine if the quota allocation process was done correctly.

He said as part of the review process, letters were already forwarded to the Office of the Government Attorney to provide Witvlei Meat with the information which the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein provided to Cabinet to take a decision on the allocation of the beef export quota.

The review process followed after a third attempt ended in failure in the Windhoek High Court last month when Witvlei Meat challenged a decision to decrease its quota to export beef duty-free to Norway.

Judge Dave Smuts at the time dismissed an urgent application in which Witvlei Meat was asking the High Court to grant an interim order which would stop the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) from exporting more than 800 tonnes of beef to Norway, while another case lodged by Witvlei Meat in January is still pending in the High Court.

Martin also accused Schlettwein of acting mala fide and with bad intentions during the allocation of the beef export quota.

According to him, the Meat Board of Namibia on 07 Nov 2013 made it clear that only two parties are eligible to export beef to Norway – Meatco and Witvlei Meat.

This communication was forwarded to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Malan Lindeque that same day.

However, in his submission to Cabinet on 27 November 2013 Schlettwein indicated that there are three European Union (EU)-approved abattoirs to export beef to Norway.

This is contrary to a Cabinet decision in August 2010 that Namibia’s quota to export 1 600 tonnes of beef a year to Norway free of trade tariffs would be shared equally by Meatco and Witvlei Meat.

Each of the two companies has been entitled to export 800 tonnes of duty-free beef to Norway each year since then.

The quota allocation was changed in late December last year, when Schlettwein decided to allocate an export quota of 100 tonnes to the Keetmanshoop-based Brukkaros Meat Processors for 2014, while the share of the quota allocated to Meatco was increased to 1 200 tonnes and Witvlei Meat’s share for 2014 was cut to 300 tonnes.

Martin said the court documents in his possession indicated that Brukkaros has no EU approval yet to export beef to Norway.

“Witvlei Meat plays an important role in the Witvlei community and surrounding areas of the Omaheke Region. As such, Witvlei Meat should be granted an opportunity to inform Cabinet about its activities and its contributions to the fiscus of this country,” he added.

SOURCE: NAMPA