Law Society president resigns over alleged lack of board support

Donald Matthys

The president of the LAW Society of Namibia (LSN), Heinrich Jansen van Vuuren, has resigned due to an alleged lack of support from the administration.

In his resignation letter dated June 9, Van Vuuren said the majority of his attempts to transform operations at LSN had been met with disdain and an unwillingness on the part of management to adhere to its operating standards and procedures. .

“As there is no strategy to implement and no support from management and the board to adhere to the basic principles, my hands are tied and I have no role to play. Just acting as a figurehead doesn’t interest me, and I have no interest in the politics involved,” he said.

Van Vuuren was appointed in December 2021 to serve as chairman for the 2022/2023 term.

He said he laid out a strategy early in his tenure, which was unwillingly accepted by some board members.
As president and portfolio adviser, Van Vuuren said he was responsible for personnel and human resources, payments, finance, budgeting, audit and compliance, as well as physically visiting at LSN offices on a weekly basis.

He was also responsible for re-establishing proper business systems, reporting lines, performance management mechanisms, task and assignment tracking and time taking, as well as providing support for engagement between Director and Acting Director.

However, Van Vuuren said he was told by the board that it was beyond his mandate as president to put standards and procedures in place for LSN staff.

“Politics had emerged and interest in preparing for, attending and fully participating in meetings had waned, except for a few councilors who remained diligent. The consequences for councilors of not attending meetings, or not engaging in debate at meetings and then wanting to review past decisions accordingly, need no explanation. It’s a recipe for uncertainty and chaos,” Van Vuuren said.

Van Vuuren said that following a new conflict, he put on the agenda a meeting for May 20, 2022, which included adopting a code of conduct and strict attendance at board meetings. .

These suggestions were not supported by the board, Van Vuuren said.

“I just want to make sure the Law Society is well funded, well staffed and equipped with the capacity to fulfill its mandate. Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the shared vision,” he said.

The Namibian is awaiting a response to questions emailed by LSN.