Kahimise takes City fight to Supreme Court

WINDHOEK - City of Windhoek CEO, Robert Kahimise, has approached the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn a High Court ruling that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear an urgent application that he filed against his employers.

Last month, Kahimise, represented by lawyers Patrick Kauta and Gerson Narib, applied to the High Court in an attempt to stop the council from suspending him for a third time.

However, Acting Judge Claudia Claasen found that the High Court did not have jurisdiction to hear Kahimise's urgent application and to stop the council from suspending him again.

Claasen found that according to the Labour Act 11 of 2007, the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the CEO's urgent application since no dispute exists between Kahimise and council, as the complaint about his suspension was resolved and his second suspension lifted.

Nonetheless, Kahimise, in a notice of appeal filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, argued that the judge misdirected herself and committed a material irregularity, thus vitiating the proceedings before her, in ordering that jurisdiction must be argued first.

Kahimise also maintains that Judge Claasen committed an error in law by finding that the fact that the City of Windhoek council had on 25 January 2019 unilaterally uplifted his suspension, coupled with the fact that the he returned to work after the suspension, meant that there was no dispute pending between him and the municipality before the Labour Commissioner.

Furthermore, Kahimise contends that the fact that he pertinently raised a point in limine (objection) that he instituted proceedings against the City Council, his employer did not [go] by council resolution resolve to oppose the his application, contrary to the provisions of section of the Act.

Kahimise, appointed to the cushy City job in February 2017, came under fire after he allegedly got a study loan from his employers without following required procedures.

Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua and management committee chairperson Mathew Amadhila approved the study loan earlier in 2018.

He has been suspended twice since last year October in connection with the study loan.

His first suspension was withdrawn three days after he was notified in October. Council withdrew the suspension after Kahimise's legal team argued that the CEO's suspension was unlawful because he was not given an opportunity to be heard before being suspended.

He was then informed in early November that Council was going to suspend him. This was after he was informed that he would be reinstated.

The CEO, thereafter, in the same month, laid a complaint of unfair labour practice with the Office of the Labour Commissioner. He argued that Council did not follow the Local Authorities Act to the letter when they suspended him for the second time.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia