FAQ's

Please explain how Namibia is politically organized as a state?
Namibia is a democratic republic which achieved independence on 21 March 1990. It is a constitutional democracy. Within the state there is a separation of powers between [(1) the Executive with the powers vesting in the President and the Cabinet from time to time, (2) the Legislator comprised of a bicameral parliament constituted of the National Assembly and National Council and (3) the Judiciary. Particularly, Namibia is a multi-party state with presidential and parliamentary elections being held every 5 years. Namibia has a centralized government with the regional and local units of Namibia being represented on the National Council referred to above.
What are the official languages in Namibia and which language is used by the courts and applicable to legal agreements and court documents in Namibia?
Although there are various languages being spoken in Namibia, Article 3(1) of the Constitution entrenches one official language, that being English. With regard to the legality of legal agreement, we are of the opinion that the mere fact that same is drafted in a language other than English will not invalidate the agreement however all documents presented in a court of law in Namibia must be in English, where documents are however drafted in a language other than English it would mean that same would need to be translated by a sworn translator from the specific language to English.
"Please provide a brief overview of your legal system"
In that the Namibian legal system is closely related to that of South Africa it to a large extent shares the same legal/law system as South Africa and as such and due to the successive rule by Dutch and British powers which has left as its legacy a substantive law consisting largely of Roman/Dutch and English elevens, blended over time into an unique system that has features of both Civil Law and Common Law legal families, and a system of court and procedural law which bears an imprint of institutions and methods of a judication of English origin in South Africa because of the relationship referred to above, the same will be true for the Namibian law/legal system.
Are any of your legal proceedings carried out in English or would a translator be required?
All court proceedings are conducted in the English language insofar as a witness may testify in a language other than English, a translator would be utilized.
Is arbitration and accepted from of dispute resolution in your country? If so, what are the laws (if any) relating to arbitration, and which forum would be preferred for arbitration i.e. local or international arbitration?
Yes.
The governing law with regard to arbitration in Namibia is the Arbitration Act 42 of 1965 ("Arbitration Act"). Depending on whether the parties to the arbitration are desirous of making the arbitral award an order of a court of competent jurisdiction in Namibia, it is advisable that the seat of arbitration as well as the substantive law of such arbitration be the law of Namibia. Given in the aforesaid circumstances we would advise that the third forum would be local arbitration.

Do your courts recognize and enforce arbitration decisions made in your country? If so, please explain the enforcement procedures.
Yes. An arbitral award may, on the application to a court of competent jurisdiction by any party to the reference of due notice to the other party or parties, being made an order of court. The court to which application is so made, before making the award an order of court, correct in the award any clerical mistake or any patent error arising from any accidental slip or admission. An award which has been made an order of court may be enforced in the same manner as any judgment or order to the same effect.
Are there any laws that restrict the type of contracts that may be validly concluded in your country, including between (a) a local person or entity and an international investor/Funder, or (b) two international investors/Funders? If so, please provide details.
In our view all the laws of Namibia does not restrict the type of contracts that may be validly concluded in Namibia between a local person/entity and an international investor/Funder or between international investors/Funders, certain statues do however limit the extent of certain types of agreements that may be entered into, for example contracts relating to acquisition or use of agricultural land and contracts entailing the exchange of foreign currency.
Are there any laws that restrict or limit the shareholding that an international investor/Funder, especially an international investor/Funder from South Africa, may have in a company?
An international investor/Funder is restricted in the extent to which it may take up shares or an interest in a company or another legal entity of which an asset is agricultural land. Furthermore to the extent that the international investor/Funder is a natural person, such person is restricted in the extent to which it may take up shares in a banking institution.
Are there any laws that restrict or limit the extent to which an international investor/Funder, especially and international investor/Funder from South Africa may participate as a creditor in a liquidation/winding-up/sequestration process and recover Funds?
No, an international investor/Funder in his capacity as a creditor of the estate of a company under liquidation will be wind-up or of the estate of an individual/trust/partnership being sequestrated is in exactly in the same position national creditor.
Please describe, in general, the legal/regulatory framework that governs the employment of people and the termination of the employment of people.
As from 1 November 2008 all labour matters are governed by the Labour Act 11 of 2007 including the employment of people and the termination of employment of people. All labour matters, the cause of action which arose prior to 1 November 2008 are governed by the Labour Act 6 of 1992. For the reason that the latter Act has been replaced and is merely applicable on a transitional basis we will henceforth discuss in brief the more salient provisions of the Labour Act 11 of 2007.
According to the provisions of the Labour Act, Section 5 of the Act applies to all employers and all employees as such it includes the state as an employer and state employees. Furthermore, all other sections of this Act apply to all employees and all employers except to members of the Namibian Defence Force, unless the Defence Act 1 of 2002 provides otherwise, the Namibian Police Force and a Municipal Police Force referred to in the Police Act 19 of 1990, unless this Act provides otherwise, and the Namibian Central Intelligence Service, unless the Namibian Central Intelligence Service Act 10 of 1997 provides otherwise and the prison service, unless the Prison Service Act 17 of 1998 provides otherwise.

Is there any difference in the labour laws that apply to government employees as compared to private sector employees? If so, please provide details.
Yes, the Labour Law applicable to government employees is regulated and provided for in the Public Services Act 13 of 1995, which should be read in conjunction with the Labour Act.

 

 

 

 



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