The Land Tribunal presided over by Magistrate Johannes Shuuveni yesterday upheld the objection of agricultural land owners, but declined to decrease the values. According to Shuuveni it is to afford the parties to lead evidence with regard to the decrease of the values.
He further directed the valuer, Protasius Thomas, to arrange the objections as per the assigned zones on the iso-value map in chronological farm numbers. The arguments on the land values will start tomorrow in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.
Shuuveni ordered that both objectors represented by counsel and those unrepresented must state their cases for decrease. He also thanked the legal minds that made submissions to the Valuation Court for their very informative legal arguments.
He however declined to accept the approach forwarded by Senior Counsel Andrew Corbett and other lawyers for the determination of land tax. He did chastise Thomas for being evasive when he was cross-examined by the legal representatives of the objectors.
According to Shuuveni, the valuer (Thomas) failed in his mandate to properly value the relevant properties. He said Thomas failed to put before the court accurate and detailed information, particularly material information peculiarly within his knowledge, so as to enable the court to determine whether he made out his case.
On the other hand, Shuuveni said, the objectors failed to prove the models they proposed to determine the value of land comply with the Agricultural Land Act as well as the regulations that govern the valuation of agricultural land.
“The regulations in the current form require compliance by the valuer and non-compliance would undoubtedly lead to irregularities in the valuation process.”
As a result, he said, the tribunal is at a discomfort to accept the models proposed by the objectors, because they find it in direct contradiction of the regulations.
While all counsel argued that the court should use its powers and direct the valuer to revalue the agricultural land with due regard to various guidelines and directions of the court as contained in the submissions of legal counsel, the court found the approach as not viable given the delay already occasioned in the finalisation of the 2012 valuation roll, he stated.