Businessman Ali Dharani of the Rani Group of Companies says he would have lost up to N$8 million per day if the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) closed down his shops over the festive season.
“I estimate that, should the respondents carry out their threat to shut down all my businesses countrywide (particularly in the busiest part of the year in the days prior to Christmas), I stood to suffer a loss of turnover of approximately N$7 to N$8 million.
This must be avoided at all costs,” he said in an urgent application filed at the High Court on 22 December against NEFF leaders, including activist Michael Amushelelo.
Dharani said he owns 40 shops countrywide, providing employment to 3 000 people.
Towards the end of last month, NEFF called for the closing down of the mini markets, following a protest at a shop at Oshakati, where 84 employees were suspended for protesting against working conditions, among others.
Dharani’s urgent application to the High Court sought an interdict to prohibit NEFF, its leaders Epaphuras Mukwiilongo, Longinus ‘Kalimbo’ Iipumbu, and Amushelelo from continuing with the “unlawful conduct in intimidating and threatening” him, people employed at his retail premises and customers visiting the premises.
Dharani said should there be an interruption in his business operations, this would have a negative impact on his employees as he would not be in a financial position to pay their monthly wages.
Amushelelo was yesterday arrested at Oshakati, following his failure to adhere to the court order, following a letter served to him on 19 December.
This came after Amushelelo allegedly unlawfully demanded the immediate closure of one of Rani’s businesses at Okuryangava, Old lyeeta, informing clients the shop was shut down. Saraphinea Paulus, Rani Group of Companies’ lawyer, in the letter served to Amushelelo last month demanded the “ceasing of his chaotic behaviour of intimidation, harassment and unlawful instigation of protests”.
“Should the above demand not be met, our client will open a case with the Namibian Police for trespassing and instigating any individuals to commit the crime of trespassing as described in Trespass Ordinance 3 of 1962,” the letter reads.
It further prohibited Amushelelo from stepping onto any land without the required permission of the landowners.
Oshana regional commander commissioner Naftal Sakaria yesterday confirmed Amushelelo’s arrest.
“His arrest is to do with a court order emanating from the suspension of 84 workers from the Rani Group of Companies last year,” he said.
He said they are still busy with investigations on the matter.
Dharani said Amushelelo has failed to adhere to the terms set out in the letter served to him last year when he was seen at one of the Rani Group of Companies’ outlets at Ekuku at Oshakati yesterday.
The court order restrains Amushelelo and NEFF members or supporters from coming within 200 metres of any of the group’s retail premises.
Amushelelo’s lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, yesterday said his client’s arrest is a political witch-hunt as he is not a flight risk.
“If he has violated any court order, he could simply be summoned to court.
They rather waste state resources by behaving like the bodyguards of foreign-owned businesses which are exploiting the labour of our people,” he said.
Amoomo on social media said his firm would arrange for legal representation for its client, and urged the regional police leadership to treat the matter with caution.
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