Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
12 Apr 2017
2:24 pm

Hawks head loses bid to stay in post

Ilse de Lange

Judges ruled there were no prospects of success on appeal and dismissed Ntlemeza's bid to appeal.

Axed Hawks head Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza. Picture: Gallo

A full bench of the High Court in Pretoria has turned down Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza’s application for leave to appeal against a ruling setting aside his appointment in the top post.

Deputy Judge President Peter Mabuse and Judges Jody Kollapen and Selby Baqwa ruled that there were no prospects of success on appeal and dismissed Ntlemeza’s bid to appeal against their March 17 ruling with costs.

Former police minister Nathi Nhleko initially also applied for leave to appeal against the ruling, which set aside his decision to appoint Lieutenant General Ntlemeza as national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), but his successor Fikile Mbalula withdrew the application.

Nhleko also filed an affidavit opposing an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law (FUL) for an enforcement order aimed at getting rid of Nhleko despite any pending appeals.

The organisations sought a personal costs order against Nhleko, saying he had no authority to file an opposing affidavit on behalf of the police ministry, but the court refused to grant such an order.

The full bench in March set aside Ntlemeza’s appointment, finding that Nhleko had ignored scathing judgments by Judge Elias Matojane, who set aside Ntlemeza’s decision to suspend Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya for his alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of a group of Zimbabweans in 2010.

Judge Matojane described Ntlemeza as lacking integrity and found that he had lied under oath.

The full bench found there was direct evidence that Ntlemeza lacked the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientious to occupy any position in public office, let alone one as important as the head of the Hawks.

HSF and FUL persisted with their application to enforce the order, saying Ntlemeza had ten days to lodge an application for leave to appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal, which would automatically suspend the court order for his removal.

Ntlemeza contended the full bench ruling harmed his “impeccable reputation” and that he should get “a second chance” to clear his name as he was in the twilight of his career and needed certainty about his future.

Counsel for the Foundation argued that Ntlemeza could not pride himself on an unblemished reputation in light of the court’s remarks about his lack of integrity.

“We have a man at the head of a critically important institution who should not be there, not only because the process was flawed but because he is dishonest.

“…From the day of his appointment his decisions were unlawful. The court has the authority to stem the tide of unlawful decisions now,” HSF’s advocate Carol Steynberg SC argued.

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