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Walmart advertises . . . as Supreme Court sets appeal date

by Tirivangani Masawi

While the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) is eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court sitting on 18 October for their challenge against the operations of Walmart Namibia without conditions, the retail giant has already begun advertising..

 The retail giant has started running adverts in the local print media announcing their arrival and partnership with Game Shop in Namibia.

 “Wal-Mart saving money, living better. You might have heard by now that, the world’s biggest retailer Walmart now owns Game. Walmart and Game – Working together to save you money,” reads the promotional advert ran by Walmart and Game in Namibia this week.

NaCC has launched an appeal against the High Court decision allowing Walmart to start operations without conditions in Namibia through a South African Attorney, Rafik Bahn and a local Namibian firm Hengari, Kangueehi and Kavendjii Inc.

Walmart was given the go ahead by the High Court to consummate their merger with Massmart and start operations without conditions.

The High Court judgment meant that Walmart could resume operations in Namibia without any conditions including guaranteeing promoting local industry guaranteeing job security to locals. 

The ruling was not well received by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, NaCC and Unions with the Minister of Trade, Dr. Hage Geingob likening the deal to welcoming back apartheid.

However, the challenging parties in the (NaCC and Ministry of Trade) have their hands tied back as they cannot stop the United States based retail giant from advertising hiring or resuming as they do not have the jurisdiction and can only for the decision of the Supreme Court.

NaCC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary, Mihe Goamub II this week said that the High Court decision gave Walmart to consummate the merger and there is very little they can do but wait for the Supreme Court Decision.

“There is really nothing that we can say on the matter because it’s a case in the court we can only comment after the Supreme Court decision. We cannot tell them not to hire or advertise or operate as this will be sub-judice. We have expressed our quest to challenge the ruling that’s why we went to the Supreme Court,” said Gaomub.

Unanisa Hengari of Hengari, Kangueehi and Kavendjii Inc. who will be representing NaCC on the much awaited seating of the Supreme Court in October said the decision by Walmart to advertise is because the High Court Judgment renders their merger effective in Namibia.

“The merger is considered effective in Namibia but any changes by Supreme Court would be a problem for Walmart to deal with,” said Hengari.

He added that for now Walmart can advertise and hire as per High Court ruling but the issue will either stand or be reversed depending on the Supreme Court decision in the next two months.

He added that the legal team representing NaCC is currently satisfied with their preparations for the Supreme Court seating.