The Landless Peoples Movement (LPM)’s two top leaders succeeded in their court case seeking to return to parliament after more than three months of suspension by the Speaker.
LPM’s MPs Mr Bernardus Swartbooi and Mr Henny Seibeb were suspended by the Speaker of the National Assembly following an unruly session of parliament where the Head of State President Hage Geingob was addressing parliament on the State of the Nation on 15 April 2021.
After the two were forcibly removed from the chamber by armed security officials, the Speaker wrote them a letter saying that the two will be suspended and remain on suspension until their disruptive behaviour is discussed and determined by the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
The two politicians filed a case at the High Court seeking for the court to declare that the Speaker’s action is unlawful.
In a judgement the High Court dismissed the case of the politicians by saying that the court had no authority to question the operations of the Parliament, and that Parliament was busy handling the matter according to its rules and procedures.
Dissatisfied with the High Court’s ruling the politicians appealed to the Supreme Court. After hearing the matter on 21 July, the Supreme Court ruled on 4 August 2021 in favour of the politicians by overturning the High Court ruling, saying:
“This court finds that the decision to suspend the appellants indefinitely was not made in accordance with the Standing Rules or the Act and that the decision to suspend was not made by Parliament, but by the Speaker, as a consequence section 21 of the Act does not find application in this matter, given the absence of the necessary jurisdictional facts for its invocation to oust the court’s jurisdiction.
“It is thus found that the decision to suspend the appellants was outside the Speaker’s powers and it is thus unlawful, of no effect and is set aside.
“Appeal is upheld.”
The LPM’s win at the Supreme Court is vindication that there is a problem with the workings of the High Court, as the politicians criticised the High Court’s ruling against them saying that it was falling short of professional work by a legal minded person.