19 March 2017

South Africa: Ntlemeza Will Stay in His Job Until Appeals Process Is Done - Police Minister

Hawks boss General Berning Ntlemeza will remain in his position until the appeal process to be launched by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko is completed, the minister's office said.

Nhleko is expected to file court papers on Monday, appealing the decision by the High Court in Pretoria on Friday that Ntlemeza's appointment was unlawful.

"The appeal process will effectively suspend the current court order and will allow General Ntlemeza to stay in his job until the matter is heard and adjudicated as per the appeal," Nhleko's spokesperson Sandile Ngidi told News24.

Ngidi said Nhleko was appealing the judgment because Ntlemeza was not given a chance to respond to charges.

"His rights must be respected," he said.

Nhleko was found to have ignored two court judgments which found that Ntlemeza lacked integrity and honesty, when he appointed him head of the elite police unit.

"It was not for the minister, nor was it enough for the minister, to read the said judgments and formulate his opinion without placing them before the interview panel," Judge David Mabuse said in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

The findings in both previous judgments constituted "direct evidence" that Ntlemeza lacked the requisite honesty, integrity, and conscientiousness to hold public office.

"The minister simply brushed aside a considered opinion of a superior court," Mabuse said.

He declared Ntlemeza's appointment unlawful and invalid and set it aside.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law had brought the application. The HSF asked the court to refer the appointment back to a selection panel for a new candidate to be chosen.

Ntlemeza was appointed as national head of the Hawks in September 2015. In November 2015, the HSF wrote to Nhleko asking for the reasons for his decision.

They asked for evidence that statutory requirements had been followed, and for copies of documentation used in making the decision.

In March 2016, the HSF received a letter from Nhleko containing full reasons for Ntlemeza's appointment, and his CV.

In an affidavit explaining why he appointed Ntlemeza, Nhleko said he had been satisfied with Ntlemeza's explanation regarding the previous court judgments against him.

Source: News24

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