Minister of Mines and Energy and Others v Petroneft International Ltd and Others (SA 32 of 2011) [2012] NASC 27 (21 June 2012)

Case summary

This was a Supreme Court case that revolved around an agreement between the parties which was suddenly terminated. The agreement demanded that the respondent to import oil resources on behalf of the Government of Namibia. The arrangement proved to be failure as the cost of importing petroleum was high against the market price. Consequently, the first appellant, acting in ministerial capacity decided to end the agreement.  The first respondent felt aggrieved and filed a suit in the High Court, asking it to review the decision of the cabinet that terminated the said contract.

As such, the main issue, in this case, was whether the cabinet of the government of the Republic of Namibia acted lawfully when it revoked the mandate of the respondents to import petroleum products.  The High Court in determining this issue held that the cabinet had no legally tenable reason(s) to end the contract in question.

However, on appeal, the Supreme Court held that under the Namibian Constitution in article 27(2), the executive power of the Republic of Namibia vests in the president and the cabinet. It further held that under the article, the cabinet has the role of supervising the activities of the government departments.  Since the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth respondents are government parastatals the cabinet justifiably exercised its regulatory powers in the best interest of the Namibian people. 

The Supreme Court thus overturned the decision of the High Court and accordingly upheld the appeal.

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1. Petroleum Products and Energy Act, 1990 224 citations

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