HSF goes to court over Hawks suspension

2015-01-10 15:31

The Helen Suzman Foundation has approached the North Gauteng High Court seeking an order for the suspension of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat to be declared invalid.

“The HSF is of the view that the Minister’s exercise of the power to suspend Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat is plainly unlawful,” the Foundation said this weekend.

The Foundation said that it had filed an application on Friday, requesting that the court review and set aside the action of Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, who suspended Dramat and appointed an acting head, Maj-Gen Berning Ntlemeza, in his place.

On December 23, Dramat was suspended, apparently pending a probe into his alleged involvement in facilitating the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans in November 2010.

However, the HSF argued that the wording of the SA Police Service Act of 1995, as well as a recent Constitutional Court Judgment, rendered the suspension invalid.

In a separate case dealing with the Hawks’s independence from the national executive, in November, the Constitutional Court deleted a section of legislation dealing with the process through which the head of the Hawks could be suspended.

Criticising the “untrammelled power” given to the police minister, instead the court ruled that the police minister could only suspend the head once a parliamentary committee had conducted an investigation – an action that was not taken in the case of Dramat.

“Central to the mandate of the HSF is to seek to uphold the rule of law ...

“The Minister’s decisions violate fundamental constitutional principles espoused in the November 2014 judgment and strike at the heart of our constitutional democracy,’ said the Foundation.

The HSF had previously sent a letter to the police minister requesting various pieces of information surrounding Dramat’s suspension.

However no reply was ever received.

This week saw a flurry of activity in the Hawks unit.

Yesterday, police announced that Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko had been transferred to the police’s national media centre.

On Monday, Gauteng Hawks head Major-General Shadrack Sibiya was served with a notice of suspension, reportedly also relating to the renditions. Senior Hawks official Colonel Leslie Maluleke was also reportedly served with a notice of suspension.

Last month, during an interview with Radio 702, Dramat’s advocate Johan Nortje dismissed the Minister’s reasons given for the suspension as “baseless“, saying that his client had already been cleared by a report into the alleged renditions.

“It’s quite clear that there are politics that are involved here,” he instead suggested at the time.

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