Land valuation case to be heard by High Court Thursday

22 Jun 2016 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 JUN (NAMPA) – The urgent application by the Kambazembi Guest Farm for the High Court to declare the provisional land valuation roll null and void, will be heard on Thursday.
The applicant approached the court after the Ministry of Land Reform issued a notice on 01 June 2015 that the provisional valuation roll would be available for public perusal from 01 June to 01 July 2016 at some offices across the country.
“A notice must inform the public of something that is going to happen, not something has happened. This will be Namibia’s greatest constitutional challenge to date,” said Charlie Bodenstein, counsel for Constitution Watch (formerly the Landowners’ Association of Namibia).
He told Nampa on Tuesday the ministry’s decision is in violation of the Namibian Constitution, because according to land reform regulations, notice must be given before valuations take place, and the government has not met this requirement.
The notice included sessions of the valuation court to be held between 10 August and 19 September at Grootfontein, Gobabis, Mariental, Keetmanshoop, Outjo, Otjiwarongo, Omaruru and Windhoek. During these sessions, landowners will be able to object to the roll but they cannot object to the valuation of their land or the rate of land tax.
The last farm valuations were done in 2007. Bodenstein says this too is in contravention of the Act, which stipulates that valuations must be done every five years.
Last month, three notices of motion which were financially supported by Constitution Watch, were filed by Kambazembi Guest Farm in the High Court, all requesting the setting aside of several land tax issues in 2015 and 2016.
The Kambazembi Guest Farm had already challenged the constitutionality of the government’s actions in 2013 along with the law and regulations in the High Court. This matter led to several different applications.
However, the land reform ministry made a proclamation in 2015 that a valuation roll is valid when it is approved by a valuation court and until it is replaced with a new valuation roll.
In 2013, Judge Elton Hoff declared null and void the Land Valuation Court, whose constitutionality was challenged in the High Court in an urgent court application.