R20m payout for Dramat?

2015-02-01 15:00

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko is prepared to pay suspended Hawks boss Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat the salary and benefits he would have earned until his retirement.

An entry-level lieutenant general in the police service earns R1.4?million a year. Dramat is 46 and could work for the police until the age of 60 if he wishes. This means his payout could amount to about R20?million.

It could be even higher because Dramat has served so many years in the police service – he joined as a trainee constable in 1994 after being a high-ranking member of Umkhonto weSizwe during apartheid.

One of the minister’s advisers, who has discussed the issue with Nhleko, told City Press this week the minister was waiting for Dramat to agree on a settlement.

According to the adviser, Nhleko was willing to give the green light for an early retirement for Dramat and order he be paid out the remainder of the salary and benefits he would have earned at his rank until the age of 60.

Although Dramat’s contract as the head of the Hawks is nearing its end, he would have remained a police employee.

Dramat’s advocate, Johann Nortjé, told City Press Dramat and Nhleko had met “for only five minutes” on Thursday.

“[Dramat] made it clear he was not going to be resigning,” Nortjé said.

He added that, depending on the Constitutional Court’s decision this week – it is set to rule on whether Dramat’s suspension was lawful – Dramat would attempt to negotiate a settlement package with Nhleko.

The minister could not be reached on his cellphone yesterday. His spokesperson, Musa Zondi, said any discussion between the minister and Dramat would be “confidential”.

Dramat yesterday said he was not in a position to talk.

This is not the first time a retirement deal has been mooted.

Dramat wrote to Nhleko on December 24, a day after he had been suspended, offering to “vacate office by applying to the national police commissioner [General Riah Phiyega] to approve my early retirement in terms of section 35 of the Police Act”.

Nhleko and Dramat were due to meet on January 19 to thrash out the terms of the deal, but Dramat cancelled the meeting.

“The meeting on January 19 was to discuss the deal, but Dramat pulled out of the process after being advised by his lawyers. At the time, they said they were waiting for a court ruling following an application to challenge the legality of his suspension,” the adviser said.

Nhleko’s adviser said any early retirement deal struck with Dramat would not be unique.

“It would not be the first time that such a deal is reached. It was implemented by the police service with former Gauteng Hawks head Joey Mabasa,” the source said.

“I think [Dramat’s] lawyers are ill-advising him and are only interested in making money through the process.”

Mabasa, who was linked to Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, was paid R3.5?million in 2011. His wife, Dorcas, and Krejcir’s wife, Katerina Krejcirova, started a company together in 2009 and became its co-directors.

Judge Bill Prinsloo last week ruled Dramat’s suspension was “unlawful and illegal” and also declared that the appointment of acting Hawks head Major General Berning Ntlemeza was invalid.

Nhleko wasted no time in appealing the decision – and it is this move the Constitutional Court must rule on.

This week, Nhleko told the portfolio committee on police to consider removing Dramat from his position. He has blamed the suspension on Dramat’s alleged involvement in the rendition of a group of Zimbabwean crime suspects. Two of the suspects were killed once they had been handed to Zimbabwean police.

The committee has referred that matter to Parliament.

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