Auctioning of primary homes under scrutiny

Martin Endjala

The auctioning of primary family homes has come under scrutiny on Friday during a public consultation meeting with the Ministry of Justice on the sale of primary houses in execution of judgement.

Banks, lawyers and other agencies standing to benefit from the sale of houses of the poor, Elifas Simon of the Black Business Leadership Network (BBLN) said, are colluding to auction the houses of people who have lost their jobs and as fast as they can to ensure that the poor are thrown on the street.

“How do you sell a home in six months, without a home, you are a nobody in Namibia and nobody will listen to you,’’ Simon lamented.

The discussion on the auctioning of primary family homes at times went emotional, as some people who lost houses shared their stories.

Simon questioned why banks cannot allow those who have defaulted on their home loans and have become unemployed are not allowed to pay what they can afford and continue keep their houses.

Simon urged the gathering to join hands as the public and home owners to collaborate and make Namibia a better place for everyone.

Leah Shaanika, a former magistrate, voiced her frustration with legal practitioners, where lawyers who are supposed to be doing noble wok for the people, have instead, turn to use their positions to inflict more misery and pain on people who cannot afford a lawyer.

“I understand that you the young law practitioners want to be rich, but to be a lawyer is a noble job, instead you are supposed to be scrutinizing court proceedings, because that is where you are failing,’’ Shaanika argued.

The Ministry Justice identified certain laws and legal provisions that need amending, such as the ten-day period to appear in court or to pay off your debt. The time frame is too short and does not give adequate time to the debtor to get his/her things in order. The ministry proposes that this be extended to 21 days.

The issuing of summonses to defaulters on their doors be amended to ensure that court messengers give them in person to provide more education to the debtor for the sake of understanding.

Also, to be addressed is the adding value on immovable properties to avoid houses being sold for high prices that do not reflect their true value.

The sale of houses at an auction far below their value should also not be allowed.

Holidays on instalments, is also another alternative to give defaulters ample time to recover before they start paying their home loans.

All these proposals will be handed to the judiciary for further deliberation according to the Justice Ministry.

The Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab has called on the public to make written submissions on the amendments they want to be made.

“We have repealed 128 laws thus far and we are in the process of repealing some again currently,’’ she emphasized, adding that they will engage legal organizations to address the concerns of their lack of nobility and other added issues raised by the public.

Dausab said that a number of rules were amended following a public outcry over many people losing their primary homes. However, the amendments were not enough.

She further explained that there is a need to amend the principle legislation to ensure that there is a

statutory process that sanctions the process that is envisaged under Rule 108 of the High Court Rules of 2014.

“It is for this reason, that amendments to effect those changes and also bring the magistrate court

provision in line with the letter and spirit that provides courtly judiciaries was introduced,” she said.

Prior consultations had already taken place in February 2022, which were primarily with commercial banks, legal practitioners and debt collectors.

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