Paratus, CoW in legal quagmire

24 February 2020 | Local News

Yolanda Nel - Although the City Police, on order of the City of Windhoek, seized equipment from Paratus employees laying fibre optic cable in the capital last week with no court documents to enforce the confiscation, it seems the City acted within their right.
Candidate legal practitioner Bradley Khoa of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) explained that by law, no party may take into their possession the property of another without a court order or consent of such party. However, he added that although he has not been provided with any legal directive from the City that stipulates under what authority it possessed the Paratus property, it may well be in their jurisdiction to do so without a court order.
At the scene where the equipment was seized, Paratus was informed that they were in contravention of a bylaw of a Local Authorities Act, because they were causing damage to the sidewalks.
Khoa said that depending on the wording of such a bylaw and authority, its legal validity can be ventilated before a court of law. “The essence and validity of such statutory lien will have to be proven against a strict test for constitutionality,” he said.
The managing director of Paratus, Andrew Hall, admitted that they had received a letter the day before the seizure, in which it was stated that they [Paratus] are continuing to engage in unauthorised excavation, trenching and putting up structures on municipal property. “Accordingly, you are hereby instructed with immediate effect, to cease all your trenching installation operations until such time that operations can be legalised,” the municipal letter read.
However, Paratus is also in possession of a stamped document stating they had obtained the necessary permissions to continue digging trenches to install optic fibre.
Thus Paratus decided to continue with the work.
“But,” Khoa says, “the city may review and revoke a prior decision made.”
He noted that he would have to study the initial approval and the revocation would be needed to provide a more comprehensive answer.
“However, the process of review will also need to stand the test of legality providing that such revocation is based on any new information, the City may not have had at the time of its making,” he said.
According to him, Paratus would also in this instance not be without remedy should they have relied on the initial approval and incurred expenses for such work prior to the revocation. “They can certainly file action against the City to claim back the costs incurred on reliance of such initial approval.”
While no bylaws were found before going to print, according to the Local Authorities Act 23 of 1992, “any person who without the prior approval in writing from the local authority council constructs, closes or diverts any street in its area or erects any building or other structure, or refuses or fails to comply with an order, will be guilty of an offense.”
The act also stipulates that a local authority may order any person who has contravened or failed to comply with the provisions, to demolish or alter any building or structure referred to above, restore the surface of the street to its former condition. “If a person refuses or fails to comply with the order within the specified period, the local authority council may use such steps as may be necessary in order to comply with such notice and recover the costs connected therewith from the person concerned.”
More than a week since the incident, questions directed to the City of Windhoek regarding this issue are yet to be answered.
Asked if the City “stole” the equipment from Paratus, Khoa said that theft generally requires that the “thief” has the intention to permanently deprive the owner of their property. “Paratus would have grounds to institute an urgent application against the City for a ‘mandament van spolie’ order, and essentially ask the Court to direct the City to return its property.”
Khoa said that the constitutionality of such authority can be challenged, while the City can also allege and evidence in its papers the necessary authority it had to confiscate such property.
A “mandament van spolie” order promotes the rule of law and serves as a shield against cases of self-help, where parties take the law into their own hands and exercise “power” which they do not have.

Similar News

 

Be aware of fraudsters

1 day - 01 April 2020 | Local News

Residents in the Omaheke region are warned against suspicious public awareness campaigns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in Gobabis. The Covid-19 regional multi-sectoral coordination committee...

CoW approves N$8.9 million for Covid-19

1 day - 31 March 2020 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] of Windhoek (CoW) chief executive Robert Kahimise announced that N$8.9 million has been approved to mitigate the risks associated with the Coronavirus...

Make double sure before you travel

2 days ago - 31 March 2020 | Local News

Foreign nationals who wish to leave Namibia, may do so but will not be allowed re-enter if they are denied entry into countries of their...

For all your daily needs

5 days ago - 27 March 2020 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] With a call on residents to stay indoors for the next 21 days, a number of businesses and restaurants are making sure...

Ma dankbaar ná lughawe drama

6 days ago - 26 March 2020 | Local News

Yolanda Nel - Een ma is dankbaar dat haar seun weer by die huis is ná hy een van sowat 150 Namibiërs is wat gister...

CAN closes its doors during lockdown

1 week ago - 25 March 2020 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] cancer patients should either be admitted to hospital or stay at their home, the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) has been forced...

15 tons of e-waste recycled in Nam

1 week ago - 23 March 2020 | Local News

NamiGreen and MultiChoice Zambia made history when a truck full of e-waste arrived in Windhoek from Zambia earlier this month.The two companies started discussions to...

RITMA kry watertenk terug

1 week ago - 20 March 2020 | Local News

Rehoboth • [email protected] Rehoboth Onafhanklike Bestuursraadvereniging (RITMA) kan vanmiddag hul watertenk terugkry ná dit verlede week deur die Reohobth dorpsraad (RTC) in ’n informele nedersetting...

Waterkwessie op Reho duur voort

2 weeks ago - 18 March 2020 | Local News

Rehoboth • [email protected] van Rehoboth is bekommerd oor ’n tekort aan water vir talle huishoudings in die informele nedersettings. Dit volg na die Rehoboth Onafhanklike...

Goodie bags for mommies

2 weeks ago - 17 March 2020 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] Forty-six moms that recently gave birth in the Katutura State Hospital were surprised with a fully packed maternity bag on Sunday.The bags...

Latest News

Garden Town seeks former glory

2nd of April 11:25 | Infrastructure

Okahandja interim municipal council administrator Linus //Garoeb said will be a challenge to get the town to where it is used to be.At the moment...

Sport in the spotlight

2nd of April 10:51 | Sports

The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Council of Ministers Troika is convening an emergency risk assessment virtual meeting to discuss the devastating effects...

NAMDIA comes on board

20 hours ago | Business

NAMDIA, through its foundation, allocated N$2 million for the fight against Covid-19. Thus far, the funds have been allocated as follows:• N$1 million to government’s...

Lockdown no excuse to violate...

22 hours ago | Transport

Windhoek • [email protected] Roads Authority (RA) said the agency would only attend to applications for driving licence renewals for vehicles being used for the provision...

Work as usual

22 hours ago | Infrastructure

Windhoek • [email protected] current coronavirus pandemic raises questions and brings challenges regarding waste management practices and procedures, as well as safety and health measures for...

Be aware of fraudsters

1 day - 01 April 2020 | Local News

Residents in the Omaheke region are warned against suspicious public awareness campaigns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in Gobabis. The Covid-19 regional multi-sectoral coordination committee...

Gobabis reconnects water

1 day - 01 April 2020 | Infrastructure

The municipality of Gobabis has reconnected 34 suspended water meters as per the directive by the ministry of urban and rural development to curb the...

Father, daughter moments on paper

1 day - 01 April 2020 | People

Windhoek • [email protected] simple these words seem, yet how deep they are! How easy it is to type something on a piece of paper for...

Priorities in turbulent times

1 day - 01 April 2020 | Opinion

Augustinus NgombeTimes like these are draining as they bring instability to our emotions.But I am reminded by Robin Sharma, that "Worry drains the mind of...

Load More