Go back to the beginning to appoint Hawks head - lobby groups

2016-12-07 18:59
Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza (Netwerk24)

Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza (Netwerk24)

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Pretoria - The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law on Wednesday asked the North Gauteng High Court to refer the appointment of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza back to the selection panel for a new candidate to be chosen.

"The whole matter has to go back to the beginning. What has to happen is a person who is wrongly appointed with grave allegations laid against him simply cannot stay any while longer in office," Advocate David Unterhalter, counsel for the lobby groups, said.

He suggested that the full bench of judges rule that Ntlemeza's second in command takes the helm while the selection panel reviews eligible candidates.

"No factual case has been made out to suggest [the] person who is the deputy doesn't fill the shoes."

He made an example of when Ntlemeza took over from former Hawks head Anwa Dramat who was suspended for his alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of a group of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

Unterhalter told the court that Police Minister Nathi Nhleko had disregarded the remarks of a judge who found Ntlemeza to be biased, dishonest and lacking integrity.

Remarks not findings - defence

In March 2015 Pretoria High Court Judge Elias Matojane ruled that Ntlemeza "lacks integrity and honour" and had made false statements under oath. He was acting Hawks head at the time.

Unterhalter on Wednesday read Nhleko's affidavit in which he said he had no knowledge of allegations pertaining to Ntlemeza's fitness to hold office.

Earlier William Mokhari, for Ntlemeza, said the court should not consider a judge's remarks as findings.

"For the applicants to want this court to find the remarks constitute a decision or an order, we say that is wrong. In order to determine whether an order has been made, you have to look at the entire judgment."

According to papers read in court, a committee - consisting of the ministers of justice and state security and the deputy police minister - had unanimously recommended Ntlemeza for the top job.

However, this committee was ill-equipped to make this recommendation, Unterhalter said.

Decision 'simply not rational'

"What we have is a committee that makes recommendations and that recommendation is then served before Cabinet, which is one of the decision makers," he said.

"Cabinet is not expected to spend its time into the eccentricities of each of the candidates. It relies on those that make recommendations to it."

However, if those who had made the recommendation did not have all the documentation and facts their decision was "simply not rational".

Ntlemeza and the HSF were in court several times following the suspension of Dramat for his alleged involvement in the illegal rendition matter.

Ntlemeza had been appointed in an acting capacity.

KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major General Johan Booysen and the unit's Gauteng head Shadrack Sibiya were subsequently suspended.

Dramat later quit.

Judgment in the matter has been reserved, Judge Peter Mabuse said after arguments.

Read more on:    helen suzman foundation  |  freedom under law  |  hawks  |  berning ntlemeza

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