The High Court ordered Witvlei meat to pay the costs of the respondents, which include the Cabinet, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Meat Board of Namibia, Minister of Agriculture, Meatco and Brukkaros.
The court however, granted Witvlei some relief by directing that the Ministry of Trade and Industry extend the current deadline for companies to submit bids for the Norway quota from 20 December to 27 December 2013.
When the Ministry of Trade and Industry started meetings aimed at involving other players in the Norwegian market, and to look at changing the formula of the allocation, Witvlei challenged it through an urgent application in the High Court.
The court however rejected Witvlei’s argument that the matter warranted an urgent application, saying that it served its notice on 13 December, which was a Friday and “did not inform the respondents as to when they must give notice of their intention to oppose the application”.
The court ruled that it was very important that the applicant served each respondent cited with proper notice.
“Service of process is the all-important first step which sets a legal proceeding in train. Without service, can there really be any argument that proceedings are extant against a party.”
The court further said in its ruling, “A proceeding which has taken place without service is a nullity and it is not competent for a court to condone it”.
The court added that Witvlei had not served any notice on Brukkaros, the sixth respondent, which explained why the respondent was not in court.
“In my view the service on the sixth respondent amounts to a nullity which is fatal to this application. In the light of my finding that, the application was not properly served on the sixth respondent I find it unnecessary to deal with the other points [at the start] raised by the respondents or with the merits of the matter.”
Judge Shafimana Ueitele presided over the hearing.