Hawks boss back in court to fight for his job

L/R acting police commissioner Gen Khomotso Phahlane and Hawks boss Gen Berning Ntlemeza in parliament for the HAWKS budget presentation to parliament, Cape Town. Pic: Trevor Samson. © Business Day
L/R acting police commissioner Gen Khomotso Phahlane and Hawks boss Gen Berning Ntlemeza in parliament for the HAWKS budget presentation to parliament, Cape Town. Pic: Trevor Samson. © Business Day

Hawks head Major General Berning Ntlemeza is back in court on Wednesday seeking leave to appeal a judgment by the Pretoria High Court that set aside his appointment as head of the elite unit.

Two previous court rulings have found that Ntlemeza lacked integrity and was dishonest.

Three High Court judges were highly critical of former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko in a ruling handed down in March‚ which found that he had completely ignored and brushed aside earlier adverse findings by the courts against Ntlemeza. The court ruled that Ntlemeza’s appointment was invalid.

While Ntlemeza seeks leave to appeal that judgment‚ a counter-application by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law (FUL) will be heard simultaneously asking the court to immediately enforce the judgment handed down in March – despite any appeals.

Ntlemeza has previously been accused of using police resources to fight ANC factional battles. National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams told Parliament last year how Ntlemeza had pleaded with him not to drop fraud charges against then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The charges were subsequently dropped.

City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba laid an official complaint on Tuesday against Ntlemeza with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). Mashaba accused Ntlemeza of effectively stalling investigations into rampant corruption by city officials.

The HSF noted on Tuesday that new Police Minister Fikile Mbalula had withdrawn an application – supported by Nhleko — for leave to appeal the March court ruling against Ntlemeza.

 

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