WINDHOEK - In a packed to capacity B Court, Judge Harald Geier yesterday reserved judgment in the application brought by Chief Johannes Isaack and the /Hai-/Khaua Traditional Authority against Johannes Fleermuys and the Council of Traditional Authorities.
Isaack, as the first applicant and the /Hai-/Khaua Traditional Authority as the second applicant are seeking relief for their case to be heard on an urgent basis. They also want the court to prevent Fleermuys and the Council of Traditional Authorities from going ahead with his (Fleermuys’) installation or designation as chief of the Goliath Traditional Authority at Berseba.
Chief Johannes Isaack and the /Hai-/Khaua Traditional Authority also want the court to interdict and restrain any other person to participate in any conduct to inaugurate or designate Fleermuys or any other person as chief of the Goliath Traditional Authority at Berseba in contravention of the Traditional Authorities Act.
They also want Fleermuys to pay their legal costs - one instructing and one instructed counsel.
Fleermuys, who is represented by Frieda Schulz from PD Theron, argues that while they do not dispute the fact that Isaack is duly designated in terms of the Government Gazette, there is currently no office in the Berseba Constituency and that the Chief stays in a community hall.
He said that he and the Goliath Traditional Authority have been trying since 1998 to be recognised as an independent traditional authority and that the leadership of the area of Berseba has been in dispute since 1938.
However, in 1992 after independence, a commission was established by the Council of Traditional Authorities to resolve the dispute through the establishment of the origins of the Goliath Traditional Authority. He further said a report was handed to the Council of Traditional Authorities in 2001 that saw the two groups as separate indigenous groups.
He further said various efforts were made to solve the dispute, but to no avail and that the old South African regime recognised the Goliath Traditional Authority in 1964, at that time under the leadership of Chief D. Vries, according to customary law. In his affidavit he claimed that the two clans have been living in harmony, jointly administering the land, despite the dispute between them.
Fleermuys said the Goliath Traditional Authority has on numerous occasions requested the Minister Jerry Ekandjo to recognise him as their leader, and even petitioned him with a list of 700 names, submitted through the office of the permanent secretary.
Fleermuys said both the Goliath and Isaack clans have their followers in their respective areas and that never in 74 years has there been an invasion into each other’s lands. However, both clans claim to be the sole representatives of the area.
There is a clear divide between the two and at the beginning of the hearing of the urgent application, Judge Geier urged both parties to reach an out-of-court settlement.