HSF & FUL go to court to stop Berning Ntlemeza

Organisations seeking urgent interdict preventing Hawks head from exercising power

This week, the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law (FUL) will appear before the Pretoria High Court in an urgent application. We aim to stop Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza from exercising any power or discharging any function or duty as the Head of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (the DPCI or “Hawks”).  This interdict is sought as a temporary measure pending the outcome of the Court’s consideration over whether General Ntlemeza’s appointment as head of the Hawks was lawful, and made with regard to relevant considerations.

The HSF and FUL have serious concerns about whether Lieutenant General Ntlemeza is a fit and proper person to head the Hawks.  Judge Elias Matojane in the Sibiya judgement impugned the honesty and integrity of Lieutenant General Ntlemeza, finding the he was “biased and dishonest” and “lacked integrity and honour” in making false statements under oath. The Minister has clearly failed to take into account these comments made by Judge Matojane in his appointment of Lieutenant General Ntlemeza. This failure forms the basis upon which the HSF and FUL bring our application.

The Hawks are a key element of the justice system and it is their duty to conduct investigations impartially. Integrity within the DPCI, especially its leadership, is essential.  

The HSF has been involved in litigation about the independence of the Hawks from political pressure for the last five years, first as amicus in Glenister, then as plaintiffs, including three cases involving the suspension of a former head of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat.  The outcome of this litigation has been to clarify and improve the independence of the Hawks.

The purpose of our present action is to protect the integrity and independence of the Hawks and thereby to promote the rule of law.

For the Helen Suzman Foundation:

Francis Antonie, Director

Matthew Kruger, Legal Researcher

Kimera Chetty, Legal Researcher

For Freedom Under Law:

Sandra Sowray

Dani Cohen

Statement issued by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law, 4 April 2016