Immigration drags feet

Legal settlement not yet honoured

04 October 2019 | Justice

A same-sex couple who were willing to drop a lawsuit against the immigration authorities are still battling to obtain the promised permanent residence permit.

On Wednesday, during a status hearing in the case of South African Susan Jacobs and her spouse, Namibian-born Anita Grobler, the court heard that Jacobs had still not received the permit that had been approved by the immigration selection board on 25 July.

Jacobs and Grobler last month informed the court that they had in principle agreed to settle the matter on the condition that the residence permit was issued. The case was then postponed to this week.

But their legal team on Wednesday informed the court that despite the proposed settlement, and the fact that the N$18 000 permit fee had been paid, the permit was yet to be issued.

They stated that the home affairs ministry had “failed and/or refused to issue Jacobs with the resultant permanent residence permit and to endorse her passport.”

The legal team from Koep and Partners further argued that “the delay of two months in failing to issue the permanent residence permit is unreasonable and prejudicial.”

Grobler and Jacobs asked the court to grant a two-week postponement in order for them to consider their position.

They also gave notice that they were considering bringing an application for the issuance of the permit, either by a separate application or a supplementation of the existing lawsuit. Also on Wednesday, Judge Harold Geier issued a court order in which he demanded that the legal practitioner acting on behalf of the six respondents, Sylvia Kahengombe, provide the court with an explanation for her absence from court.

He then postponed the matter to 23 October for a sanctions hearing.

Besides Jacobs and Grobler, two other same-sex couples have approached the High Court to have their marriages and residence status recognised in Namibia.

All three couples were married legally in countries where gender is not a barrier to matrimony and moved to Namibia to settle here.

Namibian citizen Johann Potgieter and his South African spouse, Daniel Digashu, last month agreed to consolidate their case with that of German national Anita Seiler-Lilles and her wife, Namibian Anette Seiler, in order to tackle Namibia's unequal marriage rights.