Kahimise suffers set back in court battle to be reinstated

 

High Court Judge Collins Parker has refused an urgent court application by the suspended chief executive officer for the City of Windhoek Robert Naanda Kahimise.

 

This comes as a major blow in his court bid to challenge a council decision to suspend him and his effort to be immediately put back to work.

 

Judge Parker made his order citing that the application did not meet all requirements prescribed by rule 6 (26) (a) and (b) of the labour court rules.

 

Kahimise appeared in court represented by his lawyer Patrick Kauta while the other 11 respondents were represented by Gabriel Kopplinger.

 

In his submissions, Kahimise said that his suspension was made with a motive to financially ruin him as he was not entitled to a salary and benefits.

 

This, he said, meant he would not be able to meet his financial obligations with other parties as well as servicing installment payments for his cars while the act of being suspended itself would inflict a reputational damage on him.

 

He said there would be a likelihood that he would default on monthly payments he was committed to which includes overdraft payments with FNB and Standard Bank.

 

However, this was challenged as the respondents argued that Kahimise had indeed been suspended with no salary but that did not mean his benefits were also cut.

 

Said Kopplinger, “It does not make sense, the applicant is not serious with this case for urgency. Why can’t he sell one of the cars or stock on his farm?” he challenged.

 

Kopplinger also said Kahimise’s claims of reputational damage, as well as his fear that another CEO may be appointed and take over his job, was unsubstantiated.

 

“There is no financial prejudice to be suffered. This is a fight just for the sake of fighting,” submitted the lawyer.

 

The court consequently found that injury to reputation cannot constitute a ground for urgency.

 

While Kahimise challenged the legality of the meeting that decided to suspended him, but the court found that illegal actions by the municipality cannot by themselves constitute a ground for urgency.

 

He said the same applied to financial loss and consequential hardships that the applicant said he would suffer if he was not reinstated immediately. 

 

“In virtue of these reasons, (the court) concluded that applicant has not established any reasons he claims he will not be afforded substantial redress at a hearing in due course, considering that in the dispute pending before the Labour Commissioner, the Arbitrator, who will be appointed to arbitrate in the dispute (if conciliation failed), is statutorily entitled to make an appropriate arbitration award, including reinstatement and compensation, and having consequently held that applicant has not satisfied all the peremptory requirements in rule 6 (26)(b) of the rules of the Labour Court,” said Judge Parker. 

 

There was no order as to costs.

Kauta hinted that he may appeal against this decision.