19 September 2017

South Africa: Search On for New Head of Hawks

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

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says he will embark on a process to fill the permanent vacancy at the head of Hawks.

The development follows the Supreme Court of Appeal's rejection of Berning Ntlemeza's bid to appeal the High Court order that set aside his appointment, which was found to be unlawful and invalid.

"Upon studying and interpreting the court order, it is conclusive that General Ntlemeza's appointment as the Head of DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] has been nullified and declared unlawful.

"With this decision of the [Supreme Court], I am directing [the South African Police Service] to commence processing General Ntlemeza's retirement with immediate effect as if he had retired at the age of 60 but at a level of Major-General and not as a Lieutenant General to which he was promoted upon his now defunct appointment," Minister Mbalula said on Tuesday.

Lieutenant General Matakata, meanwhile, will remain the Acting Head of the DPCI, known as the Hawks.

Minister Mbalula said he hoped that the finality of this matter will bring an end to any factionalism within the ranks of the police.

"I remind our members that Major General Ntlemeza is henceforth on the outside. I demand that our members must do their work professionally and disabuse the notion of being "so-and-so people" or in rogue cabals (sic). I expect results in all the priorities I have set for DPCI," the Minister cautioned.

Case background

The Police Ministry described the matter of General Ntlemeza as a marathon legal case, where Ntlemeza was interdicted from exercising any power or discharging any function or duty as the Head of DPCI.

On 15 September 2017, Minister Mbalula received a SCA order, which states:

The application for condonation for non-compliance with Rules of the Supreme Court of Appeal is dismissed, with costs to be paid by the applicant [Ntlemeza] personally.

The application for leave to appeal is dismissed with costs, to be paid by the applicant personally, on the grounds that there is no reasonable prospects of success on appeal and there is no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard.

The implications of the court order are that:

The petition against the order of 17 March 2017, which set aside General Ntlemeza's appointment as National Head: DPCI, has been dismissed.

His employment contract has also been set aside and should be treated as if it was never obtained.

Minister Mbalula has decided not to appeal any court decision in this matter nor appeal to Constitutional Court, therefore setting aside the appointment of General Ntlemeza.

The Ministry said Minister Mbalula is further guided by the South African Police Act, which sets the retirement age at 60.

Minister Mbalula has wished General Nltemeza a good retirement.

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Former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza has retired, it was announced on Tuesday. Read more »

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