Judgment reserved in N$450 million Rössing appeal

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-Three judges of the Supreme Court reserved their judgment late last week on an appeal that Rössing Uranium Mine and the trustees of the Rössing Pension Fund lodged against a decision by the Windhoek High Court to nullify a decision of the mine regarding the distribution of some N$454 million surplus from the Fund.

High Court Judge Shafimana Uitele ruled in favour of the former members of the Fund when the members, represented by Cape Town-based Advocate Norman Arendse, instructed by Clement Daniels Attorneys, and assisted by Advocate Werner Boesak, dragged the Fund and Rössing to court after a decision was made to give them only 15% of the surplus, while the mine was to get 33% and current members of the Fund 52%.

The disgruntled former members first approached the court in September 2012 to review and set aside the decision, but decided to abandon their first application after being advised it was defective, only to re-launched it in August 2014.

They claimed that the trustees of the Fund had rubber-stamped the allocation suggested by the mine management, which did not have the necessary powers to make the decision.
Judge Uitele said the crux of the matter was whether the trustees used their powers, or had simply followed the dictates of the mine.

In their appeal to the Supreme Court the mine and the Fund argued that Judge Uitele did not deal with the issues of undue delay and the non-joinder of the active members of the Fund, including current members and pensioners, as well as former members. The mine and the Fund want the Supreme Court to dismiss the ruling of Judge Uitele and to order the former members to pay the costs of the application on a scale of instructing and instructed counsels for both.

Chief Justice Peter Shivute, Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President Petrus Damaseb and Acting Supreme Court Justice Dave Smuts reserved judgment in the long-running saga for a later date.

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