Judgement Reserved in Gaeb’s Case

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK The High Court on Friday reserved judgment in the high-profile labour case involving Transnamib and its former Public Relations Manager, Bernardt Gaeb. Transnamib made an application to the High Court to stay the order after the District Labour Court ordered it to pay Gaeb N$468 200. The company was supposed to have presented the court with documents why it should not pay the close to N$500 000 ten days before the hearing on Friday. Instead it applied for condonation on Friday, five days after Gaeb’s counsel Tjitemisa & Associates applied that the application be dismissed because of their failure to submit documents on why the order should not be final 10 days before the Friday hearing. Gaeb’s attorneys said their heads of argument were dependent on the documents. Judge Annel Silungwe then reserved judgement on both applications, after extensive arguments between TransNamib’s counsel Albert Strydom and Gaeb’s counsel advocate Dicks. Caroline McLeod, a legal practitioner employed by Shikongo Law Chambers said in her affidavit to explain the late application that the case was wrongly enrolled on March 2, 2006 and as a result could not proceed, which led to the matter being removed from the roll. She further said the parties met and agreed to re-enrol on July 7, which entailed that the applicant had to comply with the rules of the court within 14 days of receipt of the notice of enrolment from the registrar. Mcleod further argued that at the time of the postponement of the case, Kishi Shakamu was assigned to the case to deal with the matter while she was employed elsewhere and upon assumption of duties at Shikongo she had 200 case files of Transnamib assigned to her. Only during the week of July 19, she added, was she alerted that the heads of argument were supposed to be filed not later than June 23. However on June 22, there were some two documents that were outstanding and unless these were filed, the case could not be filed timeously. But Jefta Tjitemisa in his answering affidavit argued that he had filed the heads of argument on June 29; he could not deal with the merits of the case due to the applicant’s non-compliance with the rules in failing to supply him with copies of the record. He further said that the appeal for condonation had been prosecuted atrociously on the part of the appellant and as the respondent, Gaeb is prejudiced in that no effect could be given to judgment granted in his favour 16 months ago. Because of this, he said the attorneys had instructed its counsel to seek an order that the appeal be dismissed, alternatively struck off the roll, with costs. Gaeb resigned last year in January after he was reassigned with other managers to a project meant to turn around the finances of the transport company, but was never reinstated to his former position as Manager: Public Relations. Transnamib was ordered to pay Gaeb N$468 200, to keep him on the company’s medical aid for four years and to give him his pension benefits.