26 April 2017

South Africa: Ntlemeza Wipes Cellphone Clean Before Handing It Back

Photo: South African Police Service
VW Golf GTI used by the Hawks police unit (file photo).

Former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza has returned his state issued cellphone, but not before he erased all records, his lawyer Comfort Ngodi told News24.

Ngidi said Ntlemeza returned the cellphone, wiped clean of cases currently under investigation by the Hawks.

This comes after Police Minister Fikile Mbalula instructed Ntlemeza to return all police issued resources, including the phone and a vehicle on Monday.

"He cleaned it and returned it," said Ngidi. He said Ntlemeza did this to protect "information on investigations that are on the phone".

He said Ntlemeza reported this to acting Hawks boss, Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata.

This action, however, had landed former NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach in hot water, after she allegedly shredded papers and wiped clean her laptop while she was still the head of the organisation's specialised commercial crimes unit in Pretoria.

This was in violation of the NPA Act.

She and her former lawyer, Gerhard Wagenaar, are on trial on four charges of contravening the National Prosecuting Authority Act and two of defeating the ends of justice. The matter is pending.

Ntlemeza has been defiant since he was fired from his job following a High Court ruling which found his appointment invalid. He pitched up for work on Monday and has since been battling it out with Mbalula who had threatened to arrest Ntlemeza for leaving with a state vehicle.

'Coming for you'

Meanwhile, Ntlemeza has applied for a court interdict against Mbalula following two scathing press briefings by the police minister.

He said Ntlemeza has applied for the order at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria because Mbalula is interfering with his work.

The interdict seeks to restrain Mbalula from obstructing, interfering or intimidating Ntlemeza in his job.

Ngidi said Ntlemeza had no bad feelings toward Mbalula, but simply wanted to go back to work. He said Ntlemeza had been advised not to go back to work until the matter was heard by the court on May 9.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed Ntlemeza's application for leave to appeal in its March judgment.

It ordered him to vacate his office immediately. Former police minister Nathi Nhleko had also brought an appeal, which Mbalula has since withdrawn. Ntlemeza has now petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeals in a bid to get his job back.

Mbalula sent a fiery warning to Ntlemeza at a press conference on Wednesday.

"General Ntlemeza, you must know I am coming for you. You are working 24-hours to do an illegal operation... I'm going to unleash the law."

Mbalula accused Ntlemeza of conspiring in safe houses with other officials at the hawks against him. This, he said, would not be tolerated.


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