Justice Hannelie Prinsloo sat on the bench
together with Justices Thomas Msuku and Shafimane Ueitele
President Hage Geingob’s decision to suspend some provisions of the Labour Act that allowed employers to retrench or reduce salaries was ruled out by the High Court.
Last month, the Employers Federation of Namibia, the Namibian Employers Association, Huab Safari Ranches, John Meinert Printing, FP Du Toit Transport, Jet X Couriers and Sky Aviation challenged Geingob’s decision.
In the application, the employers cited the government, Geingob, labour minister, health minister, labour commission, the Attorney General as respondents.
Justices Hannelie Prinsloo, Shafimana Ueitele and Thomas Masuku ruled Tuesday that Geingob’s declaration made under the Covid-19 state on emergency was unconstitutional.
The employers argued that Geingob did not consider low-income and high-income enterprises when he declared the suspension of the sections of the labour act.
Furthermore, they said with the current financial strain, their businesses would go bankrupt if they do not retrench or reduce salaries.
In response, the government said the widespread dismissals could lead to starvation or public disorder and that the government had provided funds and incentives to strike some balance.
“The president walked a tight rope and had to strike a balance with regard to everyone’s interests. It is evident that the President only interfered to the extent that employers intended to interfere with employee benefits as a result of the Covid-19 impact,” the respondents in the matter argued during the hearing,” the respondents said.