Game over for Ntlemeza, say experts

2017-04-18 18:38
Berning Ntlemeza (File, Netwerk24)

Berning Ntlemeza (File, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Two constitutional law experts believe former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza has no cards left to play.

While he was within his rights to challenge his dismissal in the Supreme Court of Appeal, the case against him was overwhelming, Professor Marinus Wiechers and Phephalaphi Dube said on Tuesday.

"He has no case. In the Constitution there are one or two specific offices that can be removed by Parliament. One is the Public Protector," Wiechers said.

Many others, like heads of department, were appointed and could be fired by ministers.

"In his case, it went further. His appointment was challenged in the courts and the courts had a very strong judgment and said his appointment was invalid and illegal," Wiechers said.

Dube said the merits of his case were weak. She said Ntlemeza would struggle to argue against what a number of courts had said about the irrational abuse of public power.

Contempt of court

She cited the judgments against former NPA head Menzi Simelane, former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli, and NPA advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi.

"It's a settled aspect of law and you can't get any more clarity. I don't foresee a reasonable prospect of success in whatever appeal he is trying to arrive at."

Ntlemeza's lawyer Comfort Ngidi told News24 on Tuesday that he was preparing papers to be submitted to the SCA before Thursday.

He said that under the Superior Courts Act, the execution of a decision which was under appeal was suspended, pending the decision of the appeal.

On Wednesday, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed Ntlemeza's application for leave to appeal its March judgment, with costs.

It ordered him to vacate his office immediately. Former police minister Nathi Nhleko had also brought an appeal, which his successor Fikile Mbalula withdrew.

The court ruled in March that his appointment was unlawful and invalid. In 2015, the same court ruled that Ntlemeza "lacks integrity and honour" and had made false statements under oath while he was acting Hawks head.

Mbalula appointed Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata as acting Hawks head. He warned that he would execute the law should Ntlemeza report for duty.

City Press reported on Sunday that Ntlemeza said only Parliament could fire him. He insisted he was still in charge of the Hawks and would turn up for work on Tuesday, in defiance of Mbalula's letter instructing him to vacate his office.

Wiechers said this would be blatant contempt of court.

Read more on:    police  |  hawks  |  berning ntlemeza  |  corruption  |  judiciary

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