Police minister slams SACP for Ntlemeza attack

2016-05-24 15:31
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko (File)

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko (File)

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Cape Town – Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has slammed the South African Communist Party for its "attack" on Hawks head Lieutenant-General Berning Ntlemeza.

In an hour-long press conference, the minister raged about the "unfair, malicious, critical statement" recently issued by the SACP, where they likened an investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to "apartheid era tactics".

Nhleko said it was puzzling that the party was criticising others based on rumours.

This after the SACP last week threw its weight behind Gordhan, slamming Ntlemeza.

"The conduct of the Hawks under Ntlemeza's stewardship is increasingly leaving much to be desired, and indeed reflects politically motivated, factional and private agendas," SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said.

The SACP said these agendas were being disguised as the law taking its course, and "therefore abusing state power to pursue them, is completely unacceptable".  

Nhleko said they disagreed that political motivation was behind some cases tackled by the Hawks.

Faceless officials 

"What is puzzling is that we find a situation where the party is criticising others through rumours and faceless officials. We disagree with this, and challenge not only the SACP but all South Africans to show us one political organisation whose members have not at one time or another faced a focused eye of the law enforcement," he said.

The Sunday Times reported that the Hawks wanted Gordhan and eight others charged for alleged illicit intelligence gathering and spying on taxpayers during his time as Sars commissioner between 1999 and 2009. 

A so-called "rogue unit" within Sars was allegedly responsible for this.

The Hawks and NPA were reportedly waiting for "political go-ahead" before arresting him, the paper reported.

The minister again denied there were any politics involved in the investigation. 

He said all government institutions were governed by the law. 

"There are investigations around the SARS rogue unit and you all know that," he said.

Nhleko still refused to say what charges were being investigated, as "charges were a product of an investigation".

Fair criticism 

He encouraged those with valid grievances of political interference to follow proper procedure in addressing them. 

"If you have valid reasons, substantiate your accusations. Take it up with the court of law in this country," said Nhleko. 

"Should it be the case that any officials are found to be in the wrong, we are bound to act and correct that from my end, as the responsible political authority."

The minister said they were open to criticism, as long as it was fair and not malicious.

Read more on:    sacp  |  police  |  hawks  |  berning ntlemeza  |  nathi nhleko

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