Labour Law in Namibia: Towards an 'Indigenous Solution'?

45 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2005

See all articles by Colin Fenwick

Colin Fenwick

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: June 2005


This article is about Namibia's new labour law, the Labour Act 2004 (the 2004 Act), which replaces Namibia's first comprehensive post-independence labour law, the Labour Act 1992 (the 1992 Act). Among the more significant changes are new dispute-resolution processes, and the introduction of codes of practice and guidelines as methods for legal regulation of labour relations. I endeavour to set the new provisions in their longer historical context - comparing the 2004 Act with both the 1992 Act and its predecessors - and to consider their likely impact. As the title of the article suggests, I seek to explore the extent to which the 2004 Act is an 'indigenous solution' to the needs of labour market regulation in Namibia. That inquiry is prompted by the observation of Clive Thompson, writing of the 1992 Act, that it was 'superimposed', and that it later may be necessary for Namibia 'to return to the drawing board for a less ambitious but possibly more indigenous solution'. In that light, I venture some views on the processes by which labour law in Namibia has evolved, and the prospects for the 2004 Act in the labour relations and labour market context in which it will operate. To these ends, I draw on some of the literature on labour relations and labour history in Namibia.

Keywords: labour law, Namibia, dispute-resolution processes, codes of practice , regulation, labour relations, labour market regulation

JEL Classification: K00, K1, K31, N37

Suggested Citation

Fenwick, Colin, Labour Law in Namibia: Towards an 'Indigenous Solution'? (June 2005). U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 133, CELRL Working Paper No. 35, Available at SSRN: or

Colin Fenwick (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

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185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010

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