No urgency in Gondwana-Hollard matter

14 April 2021 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

A matter between Gondwana Collection and Hollard Namibia lacks urgency and was scrapped from the court roll, Windhoek High Court Judge Kobus Miller determined yesterday.

Gondwana filed an urgent application to seek relief for business interruption claims it endured due the Covid-19 pandemic. The company said it would suffer irrevocable losses if the matter could not be heard on 31 March.

Miller said when proceedings were instituted by Gondwana, there was no pressing urgency.

“At best for Gondwana, it can be said that its case is one of semi-urgency,” the judge said.

Miller pointed out that the court will be alive to possible abuses in particular to its processes.

“One such possible abuse which came to the court’s attention is a developing practice to enrol matters for a specific day, with specific timelines for the exchange of papers, under the guise of urgency.”

He said matters are enrolled in this manner long before the specified date set for hearing.

“This bypasses the structure of judicial case management which is the cornerstone and one of the foundations upon which rules rest. It is a practice that must be discouraged.”

Sought to ‘jump queue’

“When Gondwana decided to approach this court, it tasked it upon itself to unilaterally determine dates for the exchange of papers and the determination of a date for the hearing. In that way, it sought to circumvent the rules and to jump the queue, so to speak,” the judge said.

Gondwana argued that the matter is urgent as it lost 95% of its income and currently cannot continue with its business, with its 11 000 employees standing to lose their jobs.

“We are disappointed, but we respect the judgment. The order has no substantive effect on the merits of the claim and only goes to the timing of the hearing. Unfortunately, this obviously brings no relief to the hardship of our Gondwana people and the risk of their livelihoods in the near future,” the company’s CEO, Gys Joubert, said.

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