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BIG GUN: South African lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. 
PHOTO: News24
BIG GUN: South African lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. PHOTO: News24

NEFF ropes in Ngcukaitobi to challenge deregistration

Kenya Kambowe
The Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) and their legal representative Kadhila Amoomo have roped in leading South African lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi to argue their urgent application in the Electoral Court, which seeks to rescind a recent Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) decision to deregister the party.

A legal scholar, Ngcukaitobi rose to public prominence during Jacob Zuma’s presidency when he represented NEFF’s sister party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), in a series of politically controversial cases, including a 2016 Pretoria High Court bid to gain access to the public prosecutor Thuli Madonsela's report on alleged state capture.

Internationally, his budding stock rose when he led South Africa’s case against the Israeli genocide in Gaza at The Hague earlier this year.

Challenges

On 17 June, ECN took the drastic measure to deregister NEFF and the Christian Democratic Voice (CDV) after they both allegedly failed to submit audited financial records and publish them in local newspapers. ECN’s action meant NEFF’s president Epafras Mukwiilongo and his deputy Kalimbo Iipumbu are no longer members of parliament, and neither is CDV’s lone lawmaker Gotthard Kandume.

However, NEFF last Thursday approached the Windhoek High Court in hopes to compel the ECN to reverse its decision. The Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi is the second respondent in the matter.

In an affidavit, Iipumbu argued that the ECN acted unfairly in its decision, saying that the party has been forthright in its challenges as far as submitting its audited financial records is concerned.

“[NEFF] submits that the conduct of the ECN... is unfair in view of the fact that the ECN had provided an extension on its own accord and [NEFF] has done its very best to comply. The non-compliance of the applicant is not wilful, nor is it based on the disregard of the rule of law,” he argued.

“The challenges for non-compliance have always been made clear to the ECN and the ECN has, on its own accord, offered extensions, as well as guidance to the [party]. This should be the spirit [with which] ECN should enforce the law instead of abruptly deregistering the [party] without attempting to act in any way with section 140 (6) of the [Electoral] Act.”

Surprised

Iipumbu went on to say that his party was given until 30 June to submit its outstanding audited financial reports, which were to be published in two daily newspapers. However, it was surprised by ECN’s 17 June pronouncement that the party had been deregistered.

Despite NEFF having written a letter of demand to the ECN on 25 June, the electoral body in its response - dated 26 June - was adamant that it acted in accordance with the law and that its decision to deregister the party was final. NEFF is accusing ECN of acting prematurely and not affording it a chance to be heard.

“The decision is inconsistent with the correspondence addressed to [NEFF] by the commission... whereby the commission created the impression that the client is in compliance with the Act, but also created the impression that the applicant has a deadline 30 June,” the affidavit read.

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Namibian Sun 2024-07-17

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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 474.53/OZ UP +0.25% | Copper US$ 4.43/lb DOWN -0.0068 | Zinc US$ 2 883.50/T DOWN -0.67% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.86/BBP UP +0.82% | Platinum US$ 1 016.07/OZ UP +1.34%