Procedural Fairness

Waterberg Big Game Hunting Lodge Otjahewita (Pty) Ltd v Minister of Environment & Tourism (SA13/04 ) [2005] NASC 9 (23 November 2005);

Headnote and Holding: 

This was an appeal to the Supreme Court on a judgment of the High Court which had dismissed an application for the review and setting aside of a decision by the respondent to refuse the importation of Mountain Reedbuck from South Africa into Namibia.

The appellant cited the respondent, pursuant to his duties, powers and functions as set out in the Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 4 of 1975. The appellant placed particular emphasis on his duty to consider and decide on the importation of live game from South Africa in accordance with Section 49(1) of the ordinance as amended by Section 12 of Act 5 of 1996. The evidence revealed that the decision to refuse the import of Mountain Reedbuck was made by a subordinate official who was not authorised to do so and based on a new policy which had not been communicated to the appellant.

The court found out that this issue hinged on the confusion surrounding the parties involved, the reasons for the refusal and the failure of the respondent to abide by Rule 53 of the Rules of the High Court and Article 18 of the Namibian Constitution linked to administrative justice and the doctrine of “reasonable expectation”. The court held that the subordinate official acting on behalf of the respondent did not have the authority to make the decision which was set aside. Accordingly, the appeal succeeded, and the court directed the respondent to issue the permits applied for and pay the appellant’s costs.

Namibia Grape Growers and Exporters Association and Others v Ministry of Mines and Energy and Others (SA14/02 ) [2004] NASC 6 (25 November 2004);

Headnote and Holding: 

This case was an appeal in the Supreme Court of Namibia against a judgment that dismissed the application brought by the appellants on an urgent basis and discharging a court order issued on 5 May 2000.  This matter concerned provisions of the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act No. 33 of 1992. An Exclusive Prospecting Licence 2101 (EPL 2101) was transferred to the third respondent, involved in diamond mining, on 25 June 1997 but it was alleged that its renewal happened without any notice to the landowner, involved in growing and marketing grapes, and who is one of the appellants in the case. The third respondent intended to excavate four pits of which two were situated within the area demarcated for further grape cultivation.

The appeal focused on three main issues, namely the constitutionality of Part XV of the Minerals Act, the review application regarding the renewal of EPL 2101 in 1998 and the application based on the provisions of section 52 of the same act.  

The court concluded that Part XV was enacted in the public interest and for a legitimate object and is a reasonable mechanism whereby similar contesting rights are balanced to ensure equal protection of those rights in terms of the Constitution.  It was on this basis that it could not be said that the provisions of Part XV of the Minerals Act are unconstitutional.  Accordingly, the appellants’ appeal was dismissed with costs including those for the postponement of the appeal and further argument.