Kanime case not urgent
22 April 2020 | Justice
A Windhoek city councillor's attempt to obtain an urgent interdict against a decision to extend City Police chief Abraham Kanime's contract for three years failed in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.
Judge Hannelie Prinsloo struck the application brought by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) councillor Ignatius Semba from the roll for lack of urgency.
She also ordered Semba to pay the costs of the case.
Kanime resigned at the end of January after a decades at the helm of the Windhoek City Police.
His last working day was to be the end of this month.
However, on 27 February the majority of city councillors agreed to negotiate with Kanime to stay on until 31 April 2023.
Semba and others objected, arguing that such extension would be unlawful. His court application sought to have the council decision set aside.
Critics argued that according to local authority regulations, a contract terminated by resignation cannot be extended. If Kanime had retired, an extension of the contract would have been legal.
In court papers filed on Monday, Semba said he was under the impression that the matter regarding Kanime's appointment would be discussed further at a 19 March special council meeting. However, the item was withdrawn while a draft contract was drawn up.
It was then that he decided to take the matter to court.
The council argued that the matter was not urgent, and that Semba could have taken the legal route after the February meeting already.
“He was present when the decision was taken and objected to it. Council decided to proceed and he left the meeting,” their papers state regarding the 27 February meeting.
The responding papers also noted that the extension of Kanime's contract was within the law and that the resignation would only have taken effect at the end of April. Until such time, they argue, Kanime remains an employee and a resignation could still be retracted.
Laura Pack of Pack Law Chamber is acting on behalf of Semba, while the council has secured the legal services of Frans Kwala.