Bid to stop Hawks interference

2015-01-14 00:00

THE Helen Suzman Foundation has turned to the North Gauteng High Court to stop ­political interference with the Hawks.

The foundation yesterday handed in their court papers, charging Police Minister Nathi Nhleko with the “unconstitutional and ­illegal suspension” of Hawks head Anwa ­Dramat on December 23, when the acting head of the Hawks, Major-General Benny Ntlemeza, had suspended Dramat for his ­alleged involvement in the illegal extradition of Zimbabweans in 2010.

In a further development yesterday, the Parliament’s portfolio committee over police announced it had asked Nhleko to appear ­before the committee on January 29 to ­inform the MPs about the circumstances ­surrounding Dramat’s suspension.

Sister paper Beeld has learnt the foundation yesterday also rejected a request from the police to postpone the court case from tomorrow to January 27. The foundation’s attorney Vlad Movshovich confirmed they will only agree to postpone the court case if Dramat’s suspension is immediately cancelled.

Advocate David Unterhalter for the ­foundation argues in his submissions that the recent decision by the Constitutional Court had taken away Nhleko’s powers to suspend Dramat without involving ­Parliament.

Unterhalter said it was urgent for the high court to rule on the matter, as the Hawks are responsible for high-profile cases that can involve powerful politicians.

Beeld yesterday learnt Nhleko and Dramat are provisionally scheduled to meet on Monday. In December, Dramat said in a strongly worded letter to Nhleko that his ­suspension was politically driven. But ­Dramat also offered to resign if his suspension was first cancelled.

Gareth Newham, head of the crime and criminal procedure section at the Institute Security Studies, said Dramat’s suspension left the impression that people are removed from posts when they investigate Nkandla. Newham said no allegations had been proven against Dramat, nor had the alleged extraditions been tested in courts.

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