Witvlei Meat application struck from court roll

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Calle Schlettwein the Minister of Trade and Industry.

WINDHOEK – High Court Judge Shafimana Uietele yesterday struck from the roll the urgent application brought by Witvlei Meat before the High Court.

Judge Uietele also ruled that Witvlei Meat should pay the legal costs of the respondents – Cabinet, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Meat Board of Namibia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and Meatco.

Further, the judge ruled the Minister of Trade and Industry should extend the date of allocation of the quota to Norway to December 27, 2013.

Namibia is allocated 1 350 tonnes of beef exports to Norway each year, which Namibian beef exporting companies have to fill.

However, Meatco and Witvlei are fighting over how the Namibian Cabinet should allocate the quota to meat producers. Meatco was particularly not happy with the 2010 Cabinet decision that until now dictated that the quota be allocated equally to Meatco and Witvlei. The acrimonious standoff between Meatco and Witvlei Meat over the 50:50 formula ended with the decision that meat producers should bid for the quota for next year.

This prompted Witvlei Meat to run to court last week Friday with the urgent application in which it cited Cabinet as the first respondent, the Ministry of Trade and Industry as the second respondent and the Meat Board of Namibia as the third respondent.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is the fourth respondent, Meatco (fifth respondent) and Brukarros Meat Processors (sixth respondent).

Brukarros is the newcomer to the Norway export market and joined the fray with the application for 200 tonnes of the quota. Although Brukarros does not yet qualify in terms of European Union health requirements, it has applied for qualification and has given an undertaking to be ready when the quota for 2014 is announced by Cabinet early in the new year.

Witvlei argued that failure to adhere to the terms and conditions of the decision of Cabinet contained in the August 10, 2010 letter to allocate the Norway meat export quota for 2014 has a detrimental effect on its business, as 70 percent of its business is exports to Norway and it being the backbone of the applicant’s business, business will come to an immediate halt.

In response, the Ministry of Trade and Industry argued that Witvlei’s application is unwarranted for many reasons. “It is premature as no decision on quota allocation has been made based on the new system, and there is no evidence whatsoever that if Witvlei were to bid  it would be adversely affected.”

It also argued that Witvlei knew that as soon as there is a new entrant Cabinet and the minister reserved the right to review the allocation of the quota at any time.

Sisa Namandje who represented Cabinet, the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry argued for the application to be struck from the roll, adding that it was not urgent and it must be dismissed with costs.

Advocate Andries van Vuuren representing the Meatco Board of Namibia also argued that the matter was not urgent and requested the matter to be dismissed entirely, or for it to be dismissed with costs.

Advocate Deon Obbes representing Meatco too called for the application to be dismissed.

Advocate Thabang Phatela instructed by J Gaya of Mueller Legal Practitioners represented Witvlei Meat.

 By Tunomukwathi Asino

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