Police on Tuesday admitted that they had yet to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in a bid to overturn a Durban High Court ruling that annulled the suspension of KwaZulu-Natal’s top cop – Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Betty Ngobeni.
However, Brigadier Sally de Beer said that police had lodged papers appealing an execution order granted by Durban High Court Judge Nkosinathi Chilli on Tuesday that allowed Ngobeni to return to work.
“The SCA Bloemfontein will be petitioned and the petition will be filed in the course of this week.
However please note that the attorney of the Lt Gen Ngobeni has been informed that their client should not return to work,” said De Beer.
“In addition we have also served and filed an appeal against the execution judgement this morning,” she added.
Earlier, speaking to the African News Agency (ANA) by phone, Ngobeni said: “I was at the court this morning. As far as I am concerned, I am back at work.”
High Court Judge Nkosinathi Chilli granted an execution order allowing Ngobeni to return to work.
According to the order, Ngobeni could return to work until the police had lodged a petition with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
According to a statement issued by police, Major General Bhekinkosi Langa would remain in his position as acting provincial commissioner.
Last month Judge Chilli dismissed an application to appeal his earlier judgement overturning Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phalane’s decision to suspend Ngobeni.
He ruled that Phalane needed the support of the police minister and the provincial executive council to suspend Ngobeni.
He also dismissed an application appealing his earlier judgement that set aside Phalane’s right to set up a board of inquiry to determine whether Ngobeni was fit to hold office.
Ngobeni was suspended in May over allegations that uMhlanga businessman Thoshan Panday paid for a lavish surprise birthday party for her husband, Brigadier Lucas Ngobeni.
She also faces allegations that she ordered the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in KwaZulu-Natal to stop investigating Panday in connection with inflated prices for police accommodation during the 2010 soccer world cup.
Ngobeni has claimed that she paid back Panday and denies interfering with the investigation against the businessman, which was led by KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen.
Ngobeni’s attorney, Ravindra Maniklall, could not immediately be reached for comment.