Nhleko ordered to pay foundation’s costs

2015-01-23 12:42
Anwa Dramat (File, Theana Calitz, Beeld)

Anwa Dramat (File, Theana Calitz, Beeld)

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Pretoria - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko was ordered by the North Gauteng High Court to pay the Helen Suzman Foundation’s (HSF) legal costs after it ruled that the suspension of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat was invalid.

"The order which I make is the following: it is declared that the decision of the minister of police to suspend Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat, the national head of the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] is unlawful and invalid," Judge Bill Prinsloo said.

"It is declared that the decision of the minister, appointing Major General Berning Ntlemeza as acting national head of the DPCI is unlawful and invalid. That decision is set aside."

The HSF approached the court, asking it to set aside Nhleko's decision to suspend Dramat and the subsequent appointment of Ntlemeza.

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

The HSF maintained the wording of the SA Police Service Act, under which Nhleko purportedly made the decision, had been struck down by the Constitutional Court, making Dramat's suspension invalid.

David Unterhalter SC, for HSF, argued previously that the "decapitation" of the head of such a critically important crime and corruption fighting unit was gravely damaging to his office and public confidence in the independence of the unit.

"It is simply a case of unlawful conduct by the minister and we ask that the court intervenes," he submitted.

He said the timing of Nhleko's actions was suspicious.

"It is rather extraordinary that he is said to be deeply worried, but he waited for months after being appointed [police minister]. That is inexplicable," said Unterhalter.

He said the law stipulated that the head of the crime combating unit could be suspended only following a parliamentary process.

On Friday, Prinsloo concurred with Unterhalter.

"It is declared that the minister is not empowered to suspend the national head of the DPCI other than in accordance with Section 17d A3 of the South African Police Service Act of 1995," said Prinsloo.

Read more on:    police  |  helen suzman foundation  |  hawks  |  nathi nhleko  |  anwa dramat

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