Veteran seeks reinstatement of grant

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

The former Secretary General of the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA) and Veteran of the liberation struggle, Alex Kamwi has approached the High Court of Namibia with an application to have his veterans grant reinstated by the Veterans Board.

He says he applied for his grant to be reinstated from February 2019 and a payment of N$117 800 which he says is the total amount that he was not paid between February 2019 and September 2020.

According to documents filed in the Windhoek High Court, Kamwi’s application for veteran status was approved in April 2009, although he was the vice President of administration for NNLVA, a non-profit organization until October 2017 when he became the Secretary General of the organisation until 2020.

He is citing the Veterans Board, the then Executive Director of the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Abraham Iilonga and Thadeus Elago, the Director for Directorate Policy, Heritage and Registration at the Veterans Ministry as respondents.

Kamwi says that since his approval he was receiving a grant of N$2 200 until 2013 when it was improved by an additional grant of N$4 000, making N$6 200 per month.

However, Kamwi is claiming that Iilonga suspended his grant on 28 February 2019 without giving him an opportunity to respond and state why the grant should not be suspended.

War veterans receive a monthly allowance ranging between N$2 500 and N$5 000, depending on their classification. They also qualify for project funding of up to N$200 000.

Subsequent to the grant suspension, Kamwi allegedly wrote a letter to the chairperson of the board requesting the reinstatement of his grant in March 2019.

Iilonga, in response said that Kamwi was gainfully employed and earning a regular uninterrupted salary and that the grant was only for veterans who are unemployed or if employed they should be receiving less than N$36 000 per annum.

“The decision to suspend the financial assistance of members of the leadership of the NNLVA was already made on 13 July 2012 as communicated to the then Chairperson of the NNLVA since they were paying themselves allowances, thus, not entitled to financial assistance, hence the veteran’s board discontinued or suspended the financial assistance of the said members for as long as they are receiving an income of more than what is prescribed by section 29(2) read with part 3, section 8(a) of the regulations,” states the documents.

Kamwi filed an appeal with the Veterans Appeal Board in July.

The Veteran’s Board is established as per Section 14 of the Veterans Act, 2008 (Act No. 2 of 2008), whereas the Veterans Appeal Board is established under Section 41 (1) of the same Act.

The Veteran’s Board’s main objective is to ensure the approval of aspiring veterans and the administration of the Veterans Fund, while the main objective of the Appeal Board is hearing appeals emanating from the decisions or an act of the Veterans Board However, four months later. The documents further indicate that Elago called for a meeting with Kamwi in order to reach an amicable settlement.

He asserted they reached an oral agreement to reinstate his grant.

“We both bona fide orally reached an agreement and orally settled that if my grant will be reinstated as of February 2019 i will withdraw my appeal. We should avoid taking each other to court. If there is a problem, we should try to resolve it amicably the way we did,” Kamwi argues.

However, the government argued that the oral agreement was baseless and non-existent.

“However, the applicant at his own demise stripped himself of the opportunity to be heard and failed to exhaust these statutory local remedies. His attempt to exhaust the local remedy by referring this matter to the Veterans Appeal Board consequently ended in a withdrawal of the appeal. Instead, he is approaching this Honourable Court for relief based on a baseless claim stemming from a non-existent and unenforceable oral agreement. The applicant is culpably remiss in bringing this application prematurely before this Court,” argued the government.

High Court Judge Marlene Tommasi will make a ruling on Friday.

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