ONGWEDIVA -The Minister of Justice, Sacky Shanghala has made a U-turn on the approval of the second community court of the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA).
The reason the justice minister reversed his earlier decision was apparently because the second court that has been operating from Punyu Hotel at Oniipa at a cost of N$2 500 per month in rentals is not justifiable to treasury.
Shanghala’s realisation of a wastefulness of government expenditures comes a month later after he approved the community court to be relocated from OTA’s premises to Punyu Hotel where it is currently operating.
The court was relocated to allow expelled councillors who also serve as assessors or justices to
continue registering and hearing cases because they are barred from entering OTA premises where the community court usually operates. However, the minister is now of the opinion the second office is incurring government additional
expenditures at a time government is exercising crosscutting budgetary cuts.
“I have resolved to decline the request as the budget of the Ministry of Justice will not spuriously incur
costs,” he said. The minister has thus scheduled a meeting last week Thursday with the two factions, the expelled
councillors and those currently in the o$ce to deliberate and set the position in which the community courts will operate. In the meantime, community courts have been suspended. However, sources claim the current leadership including the OTA Secretary Nepando Amupanda snubbed the meeting. “We were told the meeting was
at 10 PM and that is when we had scheduled to attend only to be alerted at 10 AM that we should go to the meeting, but many were already engaged. It is not true that we did not attend, we had senior representation,” said a source.
Nepando according to sources was preparing for Omagongo Cultural Festival that took place last weekend.
During the meeting, the minister directed his officials to undertake an investigation of the ministry’s “les
and assets valued at N$400 000 OTA which was expected to start today. Failure to grant permission will
lead to the assets to be invoked which will be followed by the minister announcement of where the court will operate. !e minister has taken a stance to freeze the appointments of assessors and justices until the squabbles have been resolved.
He said the squabbles are not just affecting the community courts but have also added strain on the work of the district magistrates at Ondangwa Magistrate’s Court. Meanwhile, the minister further warned ungazetted justices or
assessors from involving themselves in community issues.
He said ungazetted assessors or justices who lay their hands on community courts will be liable for prosecution