Nhleko must respect court ruling and remove Ntlemeza immediately – Zakhele Mbhele

DA concerned that Minister is yet again spending public money on defending an unlawful appointment

Nhleko must respect court ruling and remove Ntlemeza immediately

20 March 2017

The DA demands that the Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, respects Judge Peter Mabuso’s ruling that Berning Ntlemeza’s appointment as Head of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (“Hawks”) be set aside, as his appointment was unlawful. Ntlemeza must be removed immediately.

The DA is deeply concerned that Nhleko is yet again wastefully spending public money on defending an unlawful appointment. This is money that could be spent on fighting crime, and establishing or strengthening specialised units.

The DA will again submit parliamentary questions to ascertain the real cost of these cases. South Africans must know how their money is being used to defend the indefensible.

On Thursday, the High Court ruled that Ntlemeza’s appointment as Head of the Hawks is to be set aside.

This was a welcome decision by the court, who in a previous ruling described Ntlemeza as “dishonest” and “lacking integrity.”

The DA has long held that the appointment of Ntlemeza had been procedurally flawed, irrational and unlawful, and furthermore that he is unfit to hold office.

Ntlemeza in the past few months alone has overstepped his bounds and demonstrated his incompetence by trying to bully the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, to not drop charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Members of his unit were also involved in the Vlok Symington “hostage drama” at the offices of the South African Revenue Services.

The ruling against Ntlemeza is an indictment against Nhleko who disregarded proper procedure when irrationally appointing Ntlemeza, and then ignored calls for his suspension for months.

According to reports this morning, Nhleko is applying for leave to appeal the judgment of the High Court in part because he feels that Ntlemeza has not had an opportunity to respond to the charges being levelled against him.

Ntlemeza was, however, a party to the proceedings and has had ample time to state his case, as had Nhleko.

The DA believes that Nhleko is only delaying the inevitable by appealing the judgment, wasting millions of the taxpayers’ rands in an effort to prop up a Hawks Head who had been appointed unlawfully and who is eminently unsuitable for occupying the position.

It is now high time that Nhleko is removed. President Zuma should fire him as he is clearly incapable of carrying out the mandate of his office.

South Africans deserve to feel safe in the knowledge that the leadership of their police services are competent.

We will keep pushing to ensure that those mandated to lead our police services are beyond reproach.

Issued by Zakhele Mbhele, DA Shadow Minister of Police, 20 March 2017