Ntlemeza to fight Booysen's Hawks re-instatement

2016-01-20 07:11
Berning Ntlemeza. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Berning Ntlemeza. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Durban - Lawyers for the Head of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza, were on Wednesday expected to appear in the Durban High Court.

They would be seeking to obtain leave to appeal a ruling that quashed Ntlemeza’s decision to suspend the KwaZulu-Natal head of the Hawks Major General Johan Booysen. 

Booysen's suspension was set aside in November after he was suspended by Ntlemeza two months earlier.

Ntlemeza suspended Booysen based on allegations that he had engineered a financial reward for himself and officers in his command for the killing of two suspects.

Judge Anton Van Zyl set aside the suspension and found that Ntlemeza had ignored key evidence in the bid to suspend Booysen.  

“In fact, there is no substantive indication that the respondent [Ntlemeza] had read and considered, or followed up on, any of the material details contained in the applicant’s response to the notice of intention to suspend him.

“By blandly asserting to be within his rights to suspend the applicant [Booysen] while he [Ntlemeza] investigates, suggests an unfettered and arbitrary discretion, to be exercised at will as a matter of entitlement, irrespective of whether the allegations objectively have any merit.

“A strong suggestion arises that there is an ongoing move, possibly even a campaign, to unseat the applicant. But there is not sufficient evidence before the court to draw firm conclusions in this regard and neither party has sought a referral for the hearing of oral evidence to resolve these factual conflicts,” Van Zyl said.  

‘Unsustainable’

The judge said it was worth noting Ntlemeza had embarked, for reasons unclear, upon a course of action against Booysen "which was unsustainable upon the information at his disposal".

"When the applicant responded with detailed and motivated submissions to the notice of intention to suspend him, the respondent effectively ignored these and proceeded with the suspension in any event,” he said.

The South African Police Service was ordered to pay the costs of the application.

The embattled Booysen has in the past successfully rebuffed efforts to run him out of office.

In 2012, he successfully scuppered two attempts to suspend him with two successful high court applications.

He was arrested and suspended again late in that year, with 28 members of the Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, who were accused of running a "death squad".

The case against the officers has stretched over four years and has seen Booysen taking the fight to court again.

He successfully had racketeering charges levelled against him set aside in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban last year.

He was then exonerated from departmental charges by an advocate who chaired his disciplinary hearing, and returned to work.

Read more on:    hawks  |  durban

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