Zuma, Ntlemeza and Phiyega knew of plans to suspend Hawks boss Dramat
Former president Jacob Zuma, ex-police commissioner Riah Phiyega and then Limpopo deputy police commissioner Berning Ntlemeza knew about the suspension of former Hawks head Anwa Dramat before he was informed in 2016.
This emerged on Tuesday during the testimony of former police minister Nkosinathi Nhleko at the state capture commission of inquiry.
Nhleko admitted discussing Dramat’s controversial suspension with Zuma and Phiyega before informing him - but denied ever discussing the matter with Ntlemeza. This was despite Ntlemeza having known that Dramat was going to be suspended as early as December 9 2016, when he was furnished with the intention to suspend by Nhleko.
Ntlemeza was eventually appointed to replace Dramat.
Dramat was asked by Nhleko to make representations why he should not be suspended owing to his alleged role in the “illegal” rendition of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.
Nhleko said he discussed the matter with Phiyega because he was legislatively required to. He informed Zuma too because he “did not want the head of state to find out in the media”.
Evidence leader advocate Garth Hulley and commission chairperson Raymond Zondo quizzed Nhleko on why he ignored the report by the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (Ipid), which cleared Dramat of any wrongdoing.
Nhleko said the report, dated March 18 2014, contradicted another report on the same matter, dated January 22 the same year, which recommended that criminal charges be brought against Dramat.
Zondo fired: “Why did you not regard the second report as the report that Ipid regarded and intended as their final report, not the first one?”
Nhleko replied: “Convention worldwide has it that if you produce a report and you feel there are things to alter, the first point of reference is to state that you are nullifying the first one, which in this instance did not happen.
“Also in this instance, the legislative arrangement between Ipid and the NPA says if Ipid is conducting a criminal investigation, NPA must assist them with a prosecutor or prosecutors, which were there in the production of the first report.
“In other words, when you alter, you pull in the prosecutors for a consented conclusion. That did not happen because in the possession of the NPA they had the report of January 22, but the NPA prosecutors should also have been involved in the generation of second report.”
Much time was spent on this question, with Nhleko trying his best to justify why he has suspicions about the report clearing Dramat.
“Are you able to say whether you had a view or not that Ipid was entitled to change its mind on part of its report upon realisation that their view or recommendation is not justified?” asked Zondo, before rephrasing the question, to which Nhleko simply replied: “I had no view.”
Nhleko appeared confident at the hearing, giving some long-winded answers and throwing in some jokes.
Nhleko requested “a comfort break” at tea and lunch time and Zondo agreed to the requests.
Nhleko’s testimony continues.
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