Court name
Northern Local Division
Case number
HC-NLD-CIV-ACT-CON-2018/00161
Case name
Kambonde v Lutheran Medical Services
Media neutral citation
[2020] NAHCNLD 77
Case summary:

Special plea – jurisdiction – civil matters to be heard – in the high court – restricted by statute – Labour Court has jurisdiction – special plea upheld.

Headnote and holding:

The plaintiffs approached the high court after an alleged breach of the employment contract, in that the defendants were failing and or refusing to pay out their accrued leave days. The first and second defendant transferred all personnel in their employ over to the third defendant. The plaintiffs had prior to approaching the high court referred their matter to the Labour Commissioners office, the arbitrator declined to hear the matter as they referred the matter late in terms of the Labour Act 11 of 2007. The plaintiffs now seek direct access to the High Court (sitting as the High Court). The defendants raised a special pleas on jurisdiction.

Held: This Court (sitting as the High Court) has no jurisdiction to determine a matter that falls in the ambit of s 117(1) (d), (g), (h), (i) and s 23 of the Labour Act 11 of 2007.

Held:  The second and third defendants special pleas are upheld.

 

 

 REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA 

 HIGH COURT OF NAMIBIA NORTHERN LOCAL DIVISION

 HELD AT OSHAKATI

 

 RULING

 

Case No: HC-NLD-CIV-ACT-CON-2018/00161

In the matter between:

 

 

REBEKKA NANGULA KAMBONDE                                                               1ST PLAINTIFF

ELIZABETH KALENINASHO KAPUKA                                                       2nd PLAINTIFF

LUKAS HAFENI KAMATI                                                                         3rd PLAINTIFF

PETRINA AMUPOLO                                                                                        4th PLAINTIFF

MENETTE NDJENE                                                                                   5th PLAINTIFF

LETISIA SHIWEDA                                                                                            6th PLAINTIFF

PAULUS NDANYENGWA UUGWANGA                                                       7th PLAINTIFF

DAVID ASSER                                                                                                    8th PLAINTIFF

EDWARD MWANDINGI MALAPI                                                                    9th PLAINTIFF

THOMAS NDILIMEKE NKANDI                                                                    10th PLAINTIFF

JOHANNA TUMENIYENI ELAGO                                                                11th PLAINTIFF

HILMA KIRVINENA NAMBANZA                                                                 12th PLAINTIFF

HELVI VATILIFA                                                                                              13th PLAINTIFF

MARTHIN NDAMANHOMATA                                                                      14th PLAINTIFF

SAKEUS SHEKUPE NAKAAMBO                                                               15th PLAINTIFF

JAKOB HAMBABI                                                                                           16th PLAINTIFF

ROSALIA NDAPANDA NAMENE                                                                 17th PLAINTIFF

NIKANOR HOMATENI UUKONGO                                                              18th PLAINTIFF

HELLA KAPUNDJA                                                                                        19th PLAINTIFF

GEBHARD JONA                                                                                             20th PLAINTIFF

NDAMONONGHENDA SHITYENI                                                               21st PLAINTIFF

SESILIA HAIKALI                                                                                           22nd PLAINTIFF

AILI AMANDUS                                                                                                23rd PLAINTIFF

JASON KONDJILA NANGOMBE NAHANGO                                           24th PLAINTIFF

MARIA NANGULA ANGULA                                                                         25th PLAINTIFF

DAVID MAFUTA NEGONGA                                                                         26th PLAINTIFF

JOHANNA NDAPEWA NEPUNDA                                                              27th PLAINTIFF

FRIEDA KAMBONDE                                                                                    28th PLAINTIFF

HELENA NDAPANDA TOMAS                                                                     29th PLAINTIFF

MATHIAS NAMBAHU                                                                                     30th PLAINTIFF

GABRIEL TEGELELA AMAKALI                                                                 31st PLAINTIFF

NAEMI NAMUTENYA SHILIKOMWENYO                                                 32nd PLAINTIFF

CECILIA KAUNAPAWA HAUDILA                                                             33rd PLAINTIFF

EMILIA MATHIAS                                                                                            34th PLAINTIFF

ELIAKIM ELAO HAIHAMBO                                                                          35th PLAINTIFF

TITUS NANDJEDI                                                                                            36th PLAINTIFF

JAKOBUS IPANGELWA                                                                                37th PLAINTIFF

DAVID NGHIFIKEPUNYE                                                                             38th PLAINTIFF

KAARINA NAITSUWE ASHIKUTU                                                              39th PLAINTIFF

MELKISEDEK UUKONGO                                                                             40th PLAINTIFF

JUUNO TWATEGA KANGONGA                                                                 41st PLAINTIFF

ELIZABETH NEKWAYA ANTANGA                                                           42nd PLAINTIFF

PETRUS SHIPANDENI KANKU                                                                   43rd PLAINTIFF

MARIA NDANYENGWA EELU                                                                     44th PLAINTIFF

TOMAS ANGALA                                                                                            45th PLAINTIFF

FILLEMON MTALENI MBENZI                                                                     46th PLAINTIFF

MATIAS ELAGO PAMWENATSE MWENDELELI                                    47th PLAINTIFF

HELENA NDEAPO ASHIKOTO                                                                    48th PLAINTIFF

GABRIEL JOHANNES                                                                                    49th PLAINTIFF

PENEHAFO MALAKIA                                                                                   50th PLAINTIFF

HILMA NAKUFU TIMOTEUS                                                                        51st PLAINTIFF

BENEDICTUS SHIVUTE NAMUKUGO                                                      52nd PLAINTIFF

LINUS NDANEPETHIMBO KASHAPI                                                         53rd PLAINTIFF

MARIA KALUMBU                                                                                           54th PLAINTIFF

JOHANNA TEGELELA SHIVUTE                                                                55th PLAINTIFF

VILHO PETRUS                                                                                               56th PLAINTIFF

ELIA AUENE AUENE                                                                                      57th PLAINTIFF

MATHIAS KAAMBONDE SHIKONGO                                                        58th PLAINTIFF

GEBHARD KAPUNDA                                                                                    59th PLAINTIFF

JOHANNES ILEMO                                                                                         60th PLAINTIFF

ELIFAS MBANGO                                                                                            61st PLAINTIFF

GEBHARD NDANGI AMUNYELA                                                               62nd PLAINTIFF

SELMA SELHA AMUNYELA                                                                         63rd PLAINTIFF

EUNIKE AMWELE                                                                                           64th PLAINTIFF

HELVI AMAKALI                                                                                              65th PLAINTIFF

FRANSISKU ABROSIUS                                                                               66th PLAINTIFF

ANNA AMUTENYA                                                                                          67th PLAINTIFF

HILMA NDAKUMWA ANGULA                                                                     68th PLAINTIFF

CONSTACIA ASHIPALA                                                                                69th PLAINTIFF

NAEMI MWAYOLANGE AMULUNGU                                                         70th PLAINTIFF

HILENI AMAKUTSI                                                                                          71st PLAINTIFF

JUSTINE KANDIWAPA AMUNYELA                                                         72nd PLAINTIFF

MARTHA NDESHIHALA AYEHEAANTU                                                   73rd PLAINTIFF

JOHANNA NDAPEWA EELU                                                                        74th PLAINTIFF

TEOPOLINA ELIASER                                                                                   75th PLAINTIFF

NDAMONA ENGHALI                                                                                     76th PLAINTIFF

ANNA FILLEMON                                                                                            77th PLAINTIFF

ANNA FILIPPUS                                                                                              78th PLAINTIFF

JOSEF HAKUUNDA                                                                                        79th PLAINTIFF

ROSALIA HAMALWA                                                                                     80th PLAINTIFF

PENEPANDULO OTTILIA HANDUNGE                                                     81st PLAINTIFF

FRIEDA NDESHIPANDA IHUHWA                                                             82nd PLAINTIFF

MARTHA KAALE INANE                                                                               83rd PLAINTIFF

KATRINA NDAPEWA JAKOB                                                                      84th PLAINTIFF

VILHO JASON                                                                                                  85th PLAINTIFF

HILENI JOHANNES                                                                                        86th PLAINTIFF

LEMPIE JOHANNES                                                                                      87th PLAINTIFF

MARTHA JOHANNES                                                                                   88th PLAINTIFF

LIINA NDINELAO JOSEPH                                                                           89th PLAINTIFF

FENNI NDAPANDULA JUNIAS                                                                    90th PLAINTIFF

JAPHET KALEKELA                                                                                      91st PLAINTIFF

LOIDE KAMATI                                                                                               92nd PLAINTIFF

MATIAS KANDJUNGU                                                                                   93rd PLAINTIFF

ANATOLIA KAUKUNGWA                                                                            94th PLAINTIFF

HILENI MANYA                                                                                                95th PLAINTIFF

FRIEDA MATEUS                                                                                            96th PLAINTIFF

HILMA NIILONGA MBANGO                                                                         97th PLAINTIFF

MARIAN KANDALI MBENZI                                                                         98th PLAINTIFF

FRIEDA OLIVIA MUTALENI                                                                          99th PLAINTIFF

JOHANNA NANGULA NAMBAHU                                                            100th PLAINTIFF

PRISKILA NAMUKUGO                                                                               101st PLAINTIFF

TEOPOLINA NANKUDHU                                                                         102nd PLAINTIFF

SYLVIA NANGULA NDAEFA                                                                      103rd PLAINTIFF

NDAMONA NDEMWIIMBA                                                                          104th PLAINTIFF

ELIZABETH NEKONGO                                                                               105th PLAINTIFF

SOINI ELINA NEPANDO                                                                              106th PLAINTIFF

TADEUS HILIFAVALI NGHINYANGELWA                                             107th PLAINTIFF

HELVI NGHILINGANYE                                                                               108th PLAINTIFF

ELIFAS NTINDA                                                                                            109th PLAINTIFF

MARIA TAATSU NUUNYANGO                                                                 110th PLAINTIFF

SAKARIA ANGULA NUUYOMA                                                                 111st PLAINTIFF

JULIA MARIA NAMUTENJA SHAPAKA                                                112nd PLAINTIFF

KAARINA SHIKANGALA                                                                             113rd PLAINTIFF

KEFAS SHIKONENI                                                                                      114th PLAINTIFF

LINEA NELAO UUGWANGA                                                                       115th PLAINTIFF

KATRINA UUKUNDE                                                                                   116th PLAINTIFF

FRIEDA MAGANO SHIGWEDHA                                                               117th PLAINTIFF

JASON TANGENI SHIKONGO                                                                   118th PLAINTIFF

VICTORIA SHANDUKA                                                                                119th PLAINTIFF

EMILIA SEVERUS                                                                                         120th PLAINTIFF

HELENA INOETHANDJE SHUUKIFENI                                                   121st PLAINTIFF

FIINA SHINDONDOLA                                                                                 122nd PLAINTIFF

YOOLOKENI TEGELELENI                                                                        123rd PLAINTIFF

HILMA ELLA USIKU                                                                                     124th PLAINTIFF

HILMA SHIKONGO                                                                                       125th PLAINTIFF

ABRAHAM MAGANAEM SHIPANGA                                                       126th PLAINTIFF

SAIMA NDINELAO SIMON                                                                          127th PLAINTIFF

NATANGE SHIIMI LEEVI                                                                             128th PLAINTIFF

JULIA NDAPEWEKEKA UUGWANGA                                                     129th PLAINTIFF

EVELINA FRIEDA IMMANUEL                                                                   130th PLAINTIFF

SAIMA PHILLEMON                                                                                     131st PLAINTIFF

JEREMIA MATEUS                                                                                      132nd PLAINTIFF

PRISKILA PANDU ABED                                                                             133rd PLAINTIFF

FRIEDA NDINELAGO AMAKALI                                                               134th PLAINTIFF

MARGARETH HAMBELELA AMWELE                                                    135th PLAINTIFF

PAULA TANGI- NUUSIKU AUALA                                                            136th PLAINTIFF

FIINA NDAPANDA AUTA                                                                            137th PLAINTIFF

HILMA NAMVULA EDWARD                                                                      138th PLAINTIFF

FIINA HAITAMBA                                                                                          139th PLAINTIFF

ESTER HANGULA                                                                                         140th PLAINTIFF

HILYA MAGANO IIPITO                                                                               141st PLAINTIFF

SAIMA MARTA ILONGA                                                                             142nd PLAINTIFF

HILMA JOHANNES                                                                                       143rd PLAINTIFF

WILHELMINA KAMBALA                                                                                        144th PLAINTIFF

SELMA KANDALI INGO                                                                               145th PLAINTIFF

RAUHA PENDAPALA KONOMUUA                                                          146th PLAINTIFF

KAARINA NAMBULA MANGUNDU                                                         147th PLAINTIFF

SOFIA PANDULENI MICHAEL                                                                   148th PLAINTIFF

HENNI NDAWANIFA SHIKONGO                                                              149th PLAINTIFF

MARIA MOONGO                                                                                          150th PLAINTIFF

OTTILIE NDAFIMANA NIIKONGO                                                             151st PLAINTIFF

EMMA TEGELELA NDUNGULA                                                               152nd PLAINTIFF

SUAMA PANDULENI-NENYANYU NGHIKEMBUA                               153rd PLAINTIFF

ROSALIA NGHUUPOVALI PETRUS                                                         154th PLAINTIFF

MATHIAS SIMON                                                                                           155th PLAINTIFF

HILMA FOIBE UUGWANGA                                                                        156th PLAINTIFF

GOTTLIEB HENDRIK UUSHONA                                                              157th PLAINTIFF

PAULINA HEDIMBI                                                                                       158th PLAINTIFF

PASKALIA WILHELMINA NIITA NGHIPANGELWA                             159th PLAINTIFF

ELINA NDAPEWA-OMAGANO AMUKUGO                                            160th PLAINTIFF

HILMA NAAPOPYE SHILONGO                                                                161st PLAINTIFF

JOOLOKENI HAIMBALA                                                                            162nd PLAINTIFF

RUUSA NDAMONO SHONGOLO                                                              163rd PLAINTIFF

OTTILIE NDESHEETELWA NDEMUULA                                                 164th PLAINTIFF

TRESIA ANASTASIU                                                                                    165th PLAINTIFF

KRONELIA NELAGO KAYUHWA                                                              166th PLAINTIFF

ESTER NDAYANDIMIKWA DUTE KULYA                                              167th PLAINTIFF

LASARUS MARTHIN MALUMBU                                                              168th PLAINTIFF

HILMA NDEAPO TOKUNDU                                                                       169th PLAINTIFF

HANNU NDEAPO- RUBEN NAMBAHU                                                    170th PLAINTIFF

JOHANNA NDAMONONGHENDA KANANA                                          171st PLAINTIFF

SAIMA SONDAHA SHONGOLO                                                               172nd PLAINTIFF

HILENI NDEAPO NAMUPALA                                                                    173rd PLAINTIFF

WILHERMIN BETTY NEKOTO                                                                   174th PLAINTIFF

NDAPEWA TUYEIMO SHATIPAMBA                                                       175th PLAINTIFF

MARIA AMUAALWA                                                                                     176th PLAINTIFF

HILMA KAINEKELWA IYAMBO                                                                 177th PLAINTIFF

FRIEDA MEGAMENO KAGOGO                                                                178th PLAINTIFF

NDAMONO TEOPOLINA MBEPO                                                              179th PLAINTIFF

MARTHA NDATEGELELA MBOKOMA                                                    180th PLAINTIFF

HILENI NDINELAGO NANGOLO                                                               181st PLAINTIFF

LEENA NEKULU ANGOMBE                                                                    182nd PLAINTIFF

ELIZABETH ANGULA                                                                                 183rd PLAINTIFF

THEOPOLINA NAAYOLE AMWAANYENA                                             184th PLAINTIFF

ELINA KAULINGE OBADJA                                                                       185th PLAINTIFF

REBBEKA NDAPEWA AMEYA                                                                  186th PLAINTIFF

AUGUSTE NANGOMBE KALIMBO                                                          187th PLAINTIFF

LEA DIANA SHITUULA                                                                                188th PLAINTIFF

WILKKA MARIA AMUTENYA                                                                     189th PLAINTIFF

WILHEM NATANGWE IMALWA                                                                 190th PLAINTIFF

HILENI IYAMBO                                                                                             191st PLAINTIFF

MARTHA ANGALENI IIPITO                                                                      192nd PLAINTIFF

SAARA IHUTHENI SHIKUNI                                                                       193rd PLAINTIFF

AUNE NDEAPO ELINDI                                                                               194th PLAINTIFF

INGA MARIA NAMUPOLO                                                                          195th PLAINTIFF

SALMI ESTER JOEL                                                                                     196th PLAINTIFF

RAUNA VATILENI                                                                                         197th PLAINTIFF

HELVI NDENGU                                                                                             198th PLAINTIFF

LEENA MATHEUS                                                                                        199th PLAINTIFF

LINEA HAFENI                                                                                               200th PLAINTIFF

PETRINA IIPUMBU                                                                                       201st PLAINTIFF

SELMA THOMAS                                                                                         202nd PLAINTIFF

TAIMI NAMUPOLO IMENE                                                                          203rd PLAINTIFF

SELMA MAGANO KAMATI                                                                         204th PLAINTIFF

ELIA NEKWAYA LYNDY DANIEL                                                             205th PLAINTIFF

PETRINA UUGWANGA                                                                                206th PLAINTIFF

SUAMA SHINYAMA                                                                                      207th PLAINTIFF

SESILIA NDAPANDULA SHUUDENI                                                        208th PLAINTIFF

ISANDRA GABRIELA SIMBO                                                                     209th PLAINTIFF

VICTORIA NDESHIMANA AMAKALI                                                        210th PLAINTIFF

HILMA KANTENE                                                                                          211th PLAINTIFF

JOHANNA THIKAMA SHILONGO                                                            212th PLAINTIFF

LOVISA NDEAPO IIKALI                                                                              213th PLAINTIFF

 

And

 

LUTHERAN MEDICAL SERVICES                                                             1ST DEFENDANT

 

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN NAMIBIA                              2ND DEFENDANT

 

MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES                                 3RD DEFENDANT

 

 

Neutral citation: Kambonde v Lutheran Medical Services (HC-NLD-CIV-ACT-CON-2018/00161) [2020] NAHCNLD 77 (29 June 2020)

 

Coram:          DIERGAARDT, AJ

Heard:            25 June 2020

Delivered:     29 June 2020

 


ORDER


1. The second and third defendants special pleas are upheld;

 

2. This Court (sitting as the High Court) has no jurisdiction to determine a matter that falls in the ambit of s 117(1) (d), (g), (h), (i) and s 23 of the Labour Act 11 of 2007;

 

3. The plaintiffs are ordered to pay the costs of the second and third defendants.


JUDGMENT


 

DIERGAARDT AJ:

Introduction

[1]        At issue in this ruling is a special plea to jurisdiction is raised by the second and third defendants. The first defendant according to record no longer exist, but is cited for completeness. The court is accordingly called upon to decide whether or not the said pleas, have merit.

 

Background

[2]        I briefly outline the facts that give rise to this defence, as appears from the papers. I do so in order to place all the issues that arise, into proper perspective so as to conduce to a full and proper understanding of the court’s decision in the final analysis.

 

[3]        This matter originated from a dispute that occurred between the plaintiffs and the first and second defendants.

 

[4]        The said dispute is a dispute regarding the non-payment of accrued leave days due and payable to the plaintiffs in terms of their employment with the first and second  defendants and in addition, in terms of section 23 of the Labour Act, 2007 (Act No. 11 of 2007).

[5]        During the period between 6 June 1990 and 30 June 2015, the Plaintiffs and the 1st Defendant entered into an oral/written employment agreement/contract, in respect of their employment at the hospital (Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital) as nurses, cleaners, labourers, pharmacists and technical assistants.

[6]        The plaintiffs’ dispute/complain of non-payment of accrued leave days arose on 18 July 2015, when the plaintiffs’ contracts of employment with the first and second defendants was terminated. This was not a termination in the ordinary sense of the word, there was a substitution of employer. The plaintiffs transitioned into the employment of the third defendant. This was well after the Labour Act, Act No. 11 of 2007 was implemented and brought into effect.

[7]        Some of the Plaintiffs then referred a labour dispute/complaint with the Office of the Labour Commissioner on 12 September 2016 under the case, NROS 123-16: Hilma Nambanza and 5 others v Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital.

[8]        Upon receiving the form LC 21, the Labour Commissioner then sent a notice of dismissal and / or struck from the roll the matter for the following reason:

            ‘8.1      lack of jurisdiction

8.2       other (specify): The case has prescribe because the dispute arose on 18 July 2015 and it was received in our office in Windhoek on 19 July 2016. Therefore, I have no jurisdiction to hear this matter.’

[9]        The Labour Commissioner’s decision to strike the case, NROS 123-16; Hilma Nambanza and 5 others v Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital was never appealed or reviewed in the Labour Court or any other court.

[10]      The Plaintiffs, in this matter brought an action before the this Honourable Court against the Defendants, claiming amongst others, a breach of the contractual and/or statutory obligations by the defendants by inter alia, refusing and/or failing to pay the respective plaintiffs’ accrued leave days, despite demand.

 

The plaintiffs’ claim

[11]      The plaintiffs’ in this matter brought an action before this court against the defendant claiming breach of the contractual and or statutory obligations in that the defendants are failing and or refusing to pay the plaintiffs their accrued leave, alternatively damages. In the further alternative, seek for the third defendant to “register and record the plaintiffs leave day[s] accrued in respect of their employment with Onandjokwe Hospital [Lutheran Medical Services]”.

 

The special pleas

[12]      The second and defendant filed special pleas to the claim in that the High Court has no jurisdiction to determine the matter, as it is governed by the Labour Act, 11 of 2007. The defendants in their heads of argument submit that the plaintiffs claim emanates from an employment contract and it is therefore a labour case which falls to be determined by the Labour Commissioner. Mr Mutorwa appeared for the third defendant in submissions advanced that it was also not sound for the plaintiffs to have their matter determined piecemeal.

 

[13]      Plaintiffs in their heads of argument submit that the High Court’s jurisdiction is not ousted by the provisions of the Labour Act, 11 of 2007. Mr Nekwaya, counsel for the Plaitiffs argues that the High Court has inherent jurisdiction to determine the relief claimed by the plaintiffs, and further that the Labour Court does not adjudicate and grant the remedy the plaintiffs are seeking. He opines that the plaintiffs can tap into the reservoir of power held by the High Court as it is a constitutional entitlement. Mr Nekwaya submitted that a statute that negates the constitutions inherent jurisdiction does not apply, I do not agree with this view.

 

[14]      There is no doubt that the plaintiffs claim arises out of an employer and employee relationship, it also appears that the employer and employee relationship between the plaintiffs and third defendant continues. The Labour Act, 11 of 2007 regulates basic conditions of employment, including accrued leave and the labour court has exclusive jurisdiction thereto in terms of s 117(1) which reads:

‘Jurisdiction of the Labour Court

117. (1) The Labour Court has exclusive jurisdiction to -

            (a) determine appeals from -

            (i) decisions of the Labour Commissioner made in terms of this Act;

            (ii) arbitration tribunals’ awards, in terms of section 89; and

             (iii) compliance orders issued in terms of section 126.

            (b) review -

            (i) arbitration tribunals’ awards in terms of this Act; and

            (ii) decisions of the Minister, the Permanent Secretary, the Labour

            Commissioner or any other body or official in terms of -

            (aa) this Act; or

            (bb) any other Act relating to labour or employment for which the Minister

            is responsible;

            (c) review, despite any other provision of any Act, any decision of any body or official

            provided for in terms of any other Act, if the decision concerns a matter within the

            scope of this Act;

            (d) grant a declaratory order in respect of any provision of this Act, a collective

            agreement, contract of employment or wage order, provided that the declaratory

            order is the only relief sought;

            (e) to grant urgent relief including an urgent interdict pending resolution of a dispute

            in terms of Chapter 8;

            (f) to grant an order to enforce an arbitration agreement;

            (g) determine any other matter which it is empowered to hear and determine in term of     this Act;

            (h) make an order which the circumstances may require in order to give effect to the

            objects of this Act;

            (i) generally deal with all matters necessary or incidental to its functions under this

            Act concerning any labour matter, whether or not governed by the provisions of

            this Act, any other law or the common law.’

 

[15]      Not only does the Labour Court have jurisdiction over the matters aforesaid, the arbitrator in terms of s 86(15) may make an order inclusive of the following:

‘(a) an interdict;

 (b) an order directing the performance of any act that will remedy a wrong;

(c) a declaratory order;

(d) an order of reinstatement of an employee;

(e) an award of compensation; and

 (f) subject to subsection (16), an order for costs.’

[16]      I am of the view that the only issue the court is called upon to decide is whether the relief sought by the applicant falls within the category of remedies where the High Court is excluded.

[17]      I agree with this deduction by Damaseb JP in the matter of Katjiuanjo v The Municipal Council of the Municipality of Windhoek (I 2987/2013) [2014] NAHCMD 311 (21 October 2014) that ‘For the High Court not to entertain a matter, it must be clear that the original and unlimited jurisdiction it enjoys under Article 80 of the Constitution and s 16 of the High Court Act has been excluded by the legislature in the clearest terms.’ This cannot be said to be unconstitutional, and cannot further be said the doors of the high court have been closed to a litigant when an appropriate forum such as one finds under the Labour Act exists. In Katjiuanjo supra at p 10  Damaseb JP goes on to say ‘…Where a forum other than the High Court has been given jurisdiction, the inquiry is not so much about whether that forum is the more convenient or suitable forum but whether the legislature in express language intended to exclude the jurisdiction of the High Court.’

[18]      The high court in Katjiuanjo assumed jurisdiction, in aforesaid matter plaintiff sought relief for specific performance as a result of a repudiation of some terms and conditions of employment, they sought damages for underpayments and benefits. The facts of that case are distinguishable from the current matter as the plaintiffs rely on benefits conferred by section 23 of the Labour Act, 11 of 2007. Is this also the very reason that they correctly approached the Labour Commissioner in the first instance, albeit late.

[19]      Section 86(15) empowers the arbitrator to direct the performance of any act that will remedy any wrong. Remedy a wrong. I submit that such powers is bestowed onto the Labour court.

[20]      The issue that surfaces now is the fact that the plaintiffs were not satisfied with the Labour Commissioners decision and seek recourse in the High Court to enter the claim that was not entertained by the Labour Commissioner.

[21]      I am also of the opinion that for the reasons I have outlined previously s 117 (1)  is not in conflict with s 2 of the High Court Act; a fortiori, since the Labour Court is a division of the High Court. Section 2 reads:

 

‘The High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and to determine all matters which may be conferred or imposed upon it by this Act (i.e. the High Court Act) or the Namibian Constitution or any other law.’

 

[22]      Parker J expressed himself regarding inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in the cases of Shikwetepo vs Khomas Regional Council and other (A 364/2008) [2008] NAHC (24 December 2008) he states at para 9:

 

‘It follows that in my opinion the “inherent” jurisdiction of the High Court to review acts of administrative bodies and administrative officials flow logically, i.e. “inherently”, from the ultra vires doctrine whose object is the control of governmental action or, indeed, inaction; but not “inherited” from Roman-Dutch law. That is the meaning and signification of the term “inherent” jurisdiction in the context of judicial review by the High Court of acts of administrative bodies and administrative officials; and that is the meaning that is apropos and relevant to the issue at hand in the present matter. But to use the term “inherent” jurisdiction at large, without reference to any particular aspect of any particular law, is, with respect, meaningless, empty and otiose.’

 

[23]      He further interprets in para 17, section 117(1) (c) of the Labour Act   ‘I pass to interpret and apply s 117 (1) (c) of the Labour Act 2007 which provides:

 

The Labour Court has exclusive jurisdiction to –

(c) review, despite any other provision of any Act, any decision of anybody or official provided for in terms of any other Act, if the decision concerns a matter within the scope of this Act; … [My emphasis]’

 

[24]      Parker J further in para [21] continues ‘what s 117 (1) (c) has done – in essence – is that it has created a division of the High Court which is the only forum that has the jurisdiction – and it shares that jurisdiction with no other Court – to review acts of administrative bodies and administrative officials so long as such acts concern matters within the scope of the Labour Act, 2007.’

 

[25]      In para 22 ‘The applicant is neither permitted nor entitled to go forum-shopping.’

 

[26]      I concur with my brother that section 115 of the Labour court creates the Labour Court as a division of the High Court and vested it with the exclusive and specialised jurisdiction to deal with all matters necessary and incidental to its functions under section 117.

[27]      I am in agreement that according to s 117 (1) of the Labour Act 2007, the Labour Court has exclusive jurisdiction  to review, despite any other provision of any Act, any decision of anybody or official provided for in terms of any other Act, if the decision concerns a matter within the scope of this Act.

 

[28]      I am of the view that the High Court cannot entertain a matter that falls under section 117. It purely falls under the jurisdiction n of the Labour Court.

[29]      For the conclusions, the only reasonable and inexorable final conclusion that I can make judicially is that the plaintiffs present claim is caught within the purview of the Labour Act 2007; and so item 15 (2) of the Labour Act, 2007 must most certainly apply to it. I further direct my attention to s 18 (1) of the repealed Labour Act 1992 which reads:

 

‘Jurisdiction and powers of Labour Court

 

18. (1) The Labour Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction –

 

(a) to hear and determine –

 

  1. any appeal from any district labour court;

 

ii. any appeal noted in terms of section 54 (4), 68 (7), 70 (6), 95 (4), 100 (2) or 114 (6);’

 

[30]     It follows that the second and third defendants special pleas challenging the jurisdiction of this Court, sitting as the High Court, succeeds.

 

[31]     In the result, I make the following orders:

            1.         The second and third defendants special pleas are upheld;

            2.         This Court (sitting as the High Court) has no jurisdiction to determine a matter that falls in the ambit of s 117(1) (d), (g), (h), (i) and s 23 of the Labour Act 11 of 2007;

            3.         The plaintiffs are ordered to pay the costs of the second and third defendants.

 

 

______________

A DIERGAARDT

ACTING JUDGE

 

APPEARANCES    

 

For the Plaintiffs:                             Mr E Nekwaya (with him Ms A Samuel)

                                                        Instructed by Samuel & Company, Ongwediva

 

For the First Defendant:                 No appearance

 

 

For the Second Defendant:           No appearance

 

 

For the Third Defendant:                Mr N Mutorwa

                                                       Of Government Attorneys, Windhoek