Justice minister shares strategic vision for the next five years

By: Niël Terblanché

Yvonne Dausab, the Minister of Justice shared important milestones and strategic objectives for the first half of 2024.

Speaking at the Government Information Centre on Friday, Dausab outlined the Ministry’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, promoting human rights, and enhancing access to justice across the country.

She said that the Ministry’s multifaceted mandate includes providing state-funded legal aid, facilitating law reform, and supporting community courts.

Dausab reiterated the Ministry’s dedication to values of integrity, transparency, and people-centred service excellence.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring justice is accessible to all Namibians,” she said.

According to the minister, key achievements include Namibia’s participation in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the situation in the State of Palestine, underscoring Namibia’s commitment to international justice and the right to self-determination.

In February, the Ministry made oral submissions to the ICJ, building on written submissions made in 2023.

Another notable accomplishment for the ministry was achieving a 90% score in the audit conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister, reflecting their commitment to service excellence.

Dausab acknowledged areas needing improvement and stated that efforts to develop electronic case management systems and accessible online services are ongoing.

She said that the ministry’s strategic planning workshop, held in Swakopmund in May, set the stage for a comprehensive plan guiding their efforts from 2025 to 2030.

The plan aims to ensure justice, equity, and a sustained culture of the rule of law.

“Our vision is to provide just, fair, and transparent legal services to all Namibians,” she said.

The minister also shared current legislative developments.

Amendments to the Legal Aid Regulations have increased the income threshold for legal aid applicants, expanding access to legal representation.

The Ministry received over 9 500 legal aid applications in the 2023/24 financial year, with a substantial portion granted aid.

Dausab announced the tabling of the Divorce Bill in the National Assembly and said that the promulgation of the bill is a critical step in modernizing divorce laws related to civil marriages.

The Ministry is also finalizing several other bills, including the Child Justice Bill, Ombudsman Bill, and the Prevention and Combatting of Torture Bill, aiming for completion this financial year despite the challenges of an election year.

The Witness Protection Unit, established under the Witness Protection Act of 2017, is now fully operational, with ongoing collaboration with South Africa for technical support.

The Ministry is also progressing on the operationalization of the Whistle Blower Protection Act.

In terms of infrastructure, she said that the ministry has completed the construction of a new Magistrates’ Court in Katima Mulilo and renovations to the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court, with more projects in the pipeline, including the construction of a Gender-Based Violence Court in Keetmanshoop.

Dausab reiterated the ministry’s commitment to a people-centred approach to delivering justice.

“It is our strategic intent to make all our services people-centred and always doing more with less,” she said.

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