Booysen allowed to work

2016-01-21 12:15
Genl.maj. Johan Booysen

Genl.maj. Johan Booysen

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Pietermaritzburg - Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen can return to work.

In yet another victory for the top cop, Durban High Court Judge Anton van Zyl on Wednesday dismissed the state’s application to appeal a judgment overturning Booysen’s September 2015 suspension.

“There are no reasonable grounds for the success of this appeal. The application is refused,” said Van Zyl.

This leaves the Hawks in an awkward position. As of last week, Hawks national head Lieutenant-General Benny Ntlemeza had appointed Major-General Jabulani Zikhali into Booysen’s position as part of a nationwide reshuffle.

Asked for comment on the matter, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said via SMS: “We welcome the judgment and are currently studying it. We will communicate our position in due course.”

Last week Mulaudzi told Weekend Witness, when questioned on what would happen if Booysen returned, that all provincial heads’ posts were not permanent.

Booysen said the reshuffle and Zikhali’s appointment were “not a problem for me, but it is for [Hawks management]”.

His lawyer Carl van der Merwe said they would now “consider their position”, but neither would give a timeline as to when Booysen would return to work.

Booysen was suspended in September for allegedly recommending himself and his colleagues for certificates of commendation and a cash reward using fraudulent dockets. According to Ntlemeza, this was deemed “fraudulent representation”.

But in his November judgment overturning the suspension, Van Zyl said there was “sufficient evidence” and “a strong ­suggestion” that there is “a campaign to unseat the applicant [Booysen]”, and that the evidence to suspend him had no substance.

The judgment said Ntlemeza had “ignored” detailed submissions refuting the “fraudulent” claim as nothing more than a simple typing error, but had “proceeded with the suspension in any event”.

Acting for the Hawks, advocate William Mokhari SC said if and when the state considered to challenge the appeal was not his call.

“We will need to get instructions from the client,” he said.

The next stage would be to petition the judges at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

Mokhari had argued that the high court had “no jurisdiction” to overturn the suspension.

He said Van Zyl had “erred in law” and that his ruling had “usurped” the labour law process.

Booysen’s advocate Gardner van Nie­kerk SC said the policeman’s suspension “was unlawful” and an infringement of his “constitutional rights”, and therefore not a labour issue.

He said Ntlemeza had ignored information provided to his office that gave him reason not to suspend Booysen.

The policeman, smiling after the decision, said he would discuss returning to work with his legal team.

The embattled Booysen has been the subject of and won ­numerous criminal, civil and internal legal wrangles over the last four years to keep his job.

He rose to national prominence in 2011 when the Sunday Times published a series of stories that alleged he was head of a “death squad” operating out of the Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit.

Read more on:    johan booysen  |  hawks  |  saps

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