Racist laws finally repealed

15 March 2019 | Justice

The Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) has finalised its reports on divorce and the hated red line matrimonial property regime, while also confirming the repeal of a swathe of laws and regulations linked to the racist apartheid regime.

LRDC chairperson Yvonne Dausab said the current exercise would definitely go a long way in creating a more inclusive society, “because in order to move forward as a nation, we cannot maintain apartheid legacy laws on our statute books, whether they actively affect us or not”.

“The right thing to do is to ensure that words such as 'blacks', 'natives' 'coloured' 'whites' no longer have a place in our legal vocabulary and also to get rid of any connotations in our laws which go against the values of nation-building, inclusivity and equality,” she said.

The LRDC, through the justice ministry, reviewed the entire body of 557 laws in force in Namibia in order to reform and develop Namibian laws in an Independent Namibia.

This exercise led to the Repeal of Obsolete Laws Act of 2018 (Act No. 21 of 2018), which came into force on 1 March this year. This means that all laws mentioned in the Act have been repealed or amended to the extent set out in the Act.

Dausab told Namibian Sun that it was important for the LRDC to identify obsolete laws and make recommendations for their repeal, primarily because the law establishing the LRDC required it to do so as part of its primary mandate.



Obsolete laws are defined as laws that have become outdated and are no longer necessary as they have been overtaken by new laws, but which have not been repealed.



“The exercise of repealing obsolete laws, specifically in the Namibian context, is necessary given our history of colonialism, apartheid and oppression where laws were not only made for us and without us by the colonisers and apartheid rulers but these laws were largely made to be discriminatory, to segregate and to suppress the black people while promoting and advancing the interest and welfare of the white minority,” said Dausab.



She said this was the first time since independence that the exercise of identifying and repealing obsolete laws was undertaken and it was long overdue.



“It is also interesting to note that many of the laws which were made applicable in both South Africa and Namibia during apartheid have since been repealed in South Africa, but are still applicable in Namibia because they have not been repealed here.”



Dausab said that was not to say that laws passed after independence in Namibia cannot be obsolete.



She said there was one common denominator that kept recurring throughout the list of laws that were identified as obsolete and repealed.



“This is the element of such laws or provisions propagating discrimination and prejudice towards black people in one form or another.”



At the time such laws were passed, they affected the lives of black people in Namibia in a manner that was obvious, as they advanced the policy and ideology of apartheid, said Dausab.



According to her these obsolete laws either made it illegal for black people to be found in possession of specific items, or referred to trespassing, or created institutions that were specifically established for matters pertaining to the affairs of black people, but which were inferior to the equivalent institutions created for the white minority at the time.



“The titles and provisions of these laws are also very specific to the category of persons they were made applicable to. This approach of segregating people and making laws which are applicable to specific groups cannot and could not survive in the new constitutional dispensation of Namibia after independence if they were to be enforced.



“Therefore, even if these laws survived for this long after independence, they have been redundant, of no use, unenforced and hence the need to repeal them in order to clear them from the statute books.”



She said the repeal was meant to kick-start a process of in-depth interrogation of the laws on the statute books and the effect they had on socio-economic development and generally on the advancement of the nation.



“The focus is not only on pre-independence laws, but also on laws passed after independence,” said Dausab.



“The exercise of identifying obsolete laws should in fact be an ongoing one because the legal landscape continues to evolve with time and 20, 30 and 50 years down the line, we may consider laws that we are passing today to be obsolete at that time.”



She said the current exercise would help create a more inclusive society because in order to move forward as a nation, apartheid legacy laws could not be kept on the statute books.



She said the project on obsolete laws, was complemented by another project that looked into laws that may be considered as impeding development, particularly socio-economic development. This project is currently under way.



“The LRDC is completely aware that this exercise, particularly because it is the first of its kind after independence, was long overdue.”

ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

Namibian pleads not guilty to US sex charges

3 days ago - 23 May 2019 | Justice

A Namibian student studying in America has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charges he faces, including the exploitation of a minor. In...

Katrina's lawyer plays political card

3 days ago - 23 May 2019 | Justice

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, who stands accused of corruption, will hear on Monday, 8 July whether the court has found her guilty. Concluding...

Former Swapo deputy minister in hot water

3 days ago - 23 May 2019 | Justice

Former deputy land reform minister Theo Diergaardt and his co-accused Willem Cloete made a brief appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges...

Prisoner hid 'powdered milk' in his rectum

4 days ago - 22 May 2019 | Justice

A Windhoek prisoner is suing the ministry of safety and security and a police officer for N$250 000 in damages on the basis that he...

Katrina's corruption trial draws to a close

4 days ago - 22 May 2019 | Justice

Closing arguments in education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa's corruption trial were made in the High Court yesterday, with defence lawyer Sisa Namandje warning that “exaggerated rumours...

Cases pile up at Oshakati

4 days ago - 22 May 2019 | Justice

A shortage of magistrates at the Oshakati Magistrate's Court has been blamed for the postponement of several cases since April. A clerk from the...

Ompumbwe yoomangestrata mOshakati

4 days ago - 22 May 2019 | Justice

ILENI NANDJATOOmpumbwe yoomangestrata mompangulilo yaShakati, oya etitha eundulilo komeho lyiipotha, okuza muApilili nuumvo.Omunambelewa okuza mompangululo moka okwa lopotwa ta longo pehala lyamangestrata na ota undulile...

Namibians remanded for uncut diamonds named

4 days ago - 21 May 2019 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT Two Namibians arrested over the weekend in South Africa for allegedly being in the possession of uncut diamonds worth N$1.5 million have been...

ACC defends 18-tonne timber seizure

5 days ago - 21 May 2019 | Justice

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is defending its seizure of 18 tonnes of rosewood imported into Namibia for shipment to China because it was part of...

Bruwer nabbed for housebreaking

5 days ago - 20 May 2019 | Justice

Former Brave Warriors goalkeeper Denzel Bruwer (42) was denied bail on a charge of housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft when he appeared...

Latest News

10% water hike coming

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Disasters

The City of Windhoek has proposed a 10% water and 5% sewer tariff hike to come into effect in July. The City's recently announced...

Low earners excluded from drought...

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Disasters

Households with a combined income of more than N$2 600 will not qualify for state drought assistance, which has effectively excluded even low-level civil servants...

How did we get here?

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Opinion

How did we get to a situation, as a country, where our government is asking already struggling workers to donate 2% of the salaries as...

AMTA ends Fysal agreement

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Agriculture

Fysal Fresh Produce is to retrench 60 employees at the end of this month after its contract with the Agro-Marketing Trading Agency (AMTA) was terminated....

Geingob grills Nanso

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Education

The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) leadership received a grilling from President Hage Geingob on Wednesday during a meeting to discuss a number of issues,...

Fallout over 2% tax

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Economics

Political parties and analysts have called on the government to abandon a plan to introduce a “voluntary” 2% tax to fund drought relief.Prime Minister Saara...

Bild challenges Guibeb

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | International

The German newspaper Bild has rubbished a claim by the Namibian ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, that no arrest warrant had been issued against him.The...

Namibia ranks poorly for diversity

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Cultural

For a country that is described by many as one of the most diverse in the world, Namibia has ranked fairly poorly in a new...

Business ponders mass exodus

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Business

A recent survey by the Economic Policy Research Association (EPRA) of close to 600 businesses concerned about the government's policy direction shows that a staggering...

Load More