Yvonne Dausab, Namibia’s Minister of Justice will have her decision to withdraw Eva Nangolo’s appointment as Legal Aid Counsel challenged by prominent Lawyer Sisa Namandje
Nangolo, who finds herself in the midst of a tribal slur fiasco has roped in the high-powered lawyer’s help to challenge the justice Minister’s decision about her future at the Directorate of Legal Aid.
In a letter addressed to the justice minister, Namandje states that his office received urgent instructions from their client to advise on the validity of the decision she took on the 4 April 2023 without giving his client an opportunity to state her side of the story.
Nangolo remarked in a tweet on her Twitter account that: “For once, the Damara people are doing something beautiful, cultural identity. I love this… This overshadows that violent image of breaking bottles, knife stabbing, insults, no culture identity that I only know of them”.
The Twitter post and subsequent comments were quickly shared on various other social media platforms and drew harsh criticism from people from around the globe.
Various bodies such as the Society of Advocates of Namibia condemned Nangolo’s post in the strongest terms and stated that it is extremely derogatory towards all Damara people. The comments were further described as reckless and irresponsible.
In his letter to the justice minister, Namandje states that in the letter dated 4 April 2023, Dausab informed his client that she has withdrawn her appointment as a legal aid counsel in terms of section 3(3) of the Legal Aid Act which section must be read together with section 4(2) (a) of the same Act.
“We furnished a legal opinion to our client on an urgent basis to the effect that: the decision of the Minister is invalid and ultra vires section 3(3), when read with section 4(2)(a) of the Legal Aid Act as the withdrawal can only be made ‘with respect to any act or function of such counsel authorized by section 2(a) which entitles counsel to perform all acts normally performed by an attorney in the discharge of his or her functions in a similar case, including any act which may in terms of any law be required to be performed only by an attorney.” Namandje stated that the events the minister referred to in her letter are not “acts” or “functions” referred to under section 4(2)(a).
“The decision is thus patently invalid and is liable to be set aside on review in the High Court. It follows that the Minister did not have jurisdiction and power to act which makes her decision invalid on that basis,” Namandje said.
Namandje also stated on behalf of his client that the Minister’s decision has far-reaching and serious consequences on her rights, reputation and career and was made in breach of the constitutional obligations of the Minister under Article 18 to follow fair procedures before making decisions. “Our client was not consulted or given an opportunity to be heard prior to your decision,” he said.
Namandje further stated that the Minister’s public and hasty decision was made without careful consideration of the serious harm and implications on his client’s career, rights and reputation.
“The decision further and continuously causes our client to suffer stigmatisation given the public nature of the decision considered together with the public statements made by both the Minister and the Executive Director to the media,” he said in the letter.
Dausab stated in her letter to Nangolo that the withdrawal herappointment is the preamble to further disciplinary action from the Ministry of Justice as stated in Dausab’s official letter.
The Minister of Justice in response to the letter from Namandje said she is not at liberty to discuss the matter.
“It is now subject to internal processes,” Dausab said.