Hawks: Khuba affidavit should see Ntlemeza fired immediately - DA

Zakhele Mbhele wants Police Minister to take first step to restore credibility of corruption busting unit

Hawks: Khuba affidavit should see Ntlemeza fired immediately

17 March 2016

The DA calls on Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, to do the right thing for once, fix the mess of his own creation and immediately fire the dubiously appointed and politically compromised Hawks Head, Berning Ntlemeza, as the first step in restoring credibility in this corruption busting unit. Mr Ntlemeza has, since before his tenure, proven that he is not a fit and proper person to hold this position. 

This follows a damning affidavit lodged by former Limpopo IPID head, Humbulani Khuba, charged alongside suspended IPID Executive Director, Robert McBride, which details how the embattled Ntlemeza knew he would be appointed as acting head of the Hawks a full year and three months before he was actually appointed. This likely informed the unlawful suspension of Anwa Dramat and is prima facie evidence that the removal of Dramat and his [Ntlemeza’s] installation was born of breaches in law and rooted in undue political considerations. 

Specifically, the Khuba affidavit asserts that “In September 2013, General Ntlemeza called me using my wife’s number and requested me to come to his house…He told me that he regretted to inform me that his political principals want him to head the Hawks and not IPID.” 

Ntlemeza was appointed as Acting Head in December 2014, following the suspension and eventual resignation of Anwa Dramat, and was made permanent in September 2015.

The DA has maintained that his appointment as the acting head of the Hawks was unlawful because the suspension of his predecessor, Anwa Dramat, was unconstitutional by its very nature. The appointment of Ntlemeza is born from fatal errors in law and due process.

Both the North Gauteng High Court and the Constitutional Court declared that the Police Minister’s decision to suspend Dramat was “unlawful”, “invalid”and must be “set aside”.  The Courts stated that the same was true for the appointment of Ntlemeza as Hawks boss. Yet he is still in this position and has orchestrated nothing short of a whole-scale purge of any members of the Police Service who seek to do their work without fear, favour or prejudice.

Last year the DA submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister asking for the shortlist of the candidates for the Head of the Hawks as well as their CVs. The Minister replied stating that he would “provide both the list of the shortlisted candidates and copies of their CV’s when parliament resumes in 2016.”

It is now the last week of the first Parliamentary term and the Minister has yet to provide the shortlist and CVs as he professed he would. The only logical conclusion on can draw from this is that Ntlemeza never made the shortlist, but was appointed to do the bidding of the Police Minister who serves at the pleasure of the President.

Section 17CA of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act demands that the head of the Hawks be a fit and proper person with integrity. However, it is blatantly obvious that Ntlemeza is not this kind of person. North Gauteng High Court Judge Matonjane called Ntlemeza “biased, dishonest and lack[ing in] integrity and honour”, evidenced by him having made false statements under oath.

Instead of addressing the abysmal 83% plummet in the conviction rate of Hawks cases since they replaced the Scorpions, as revealed in a previous parliamentary reply; Ntlemeza has been unduly preoccupied with witch-hunts. At present Ntlemeza’s appointment is the subject of judicial review which is likely to set aside his appointment. Minister Nhleko must now do what the courts will likely do and must fire Ntlemeza. 

It is evident that the fight against corruption and organised crime is not safe in Ntlemeza’s hands. 

South Africans deserve to know that at the very least institutions that fight crime are safe from political interference. In order to salvage some semblance of trust in our fight against corruption, the Police Minister must do the right thing and remove the compromised Ntlemeza as Head of the Hawks.

Issued by Zakhele Mbhele, DA Shadow Minister of Police, 17 March 2016