Nhleko should not delay Ntlemeza's 'eventual demise' - police union

Johannesburg - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko should not delay the "eventual demise" of Hawks boss Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza, the SA Policing Union said on Monday.

"His empty appeal will compromise service delivery as the cloud hanging over the head of the DPCI on its own is costly,” SAPU president Mpho Kwinika said in a statement.

"It is clear that Minister Nhleko is applying dirty delaying tactics because Ntlemeza will never survive this," Kwinika said.

The union called for Nhleko to pay the legal costs of the appeal out of his own pocket.

On Friday, the High Court in Pretoria declared Ntlemeza’s appointment unlawful and invalid, and set it aside.

Nhleko's office said on Sunday that Ntlemeza would remain in his position until an appeal process had been finalised.

"The appeal process will effectively suspend the current court order and will allow General Ntlemeza to stay in his job until the matter is heard and adjudicated as per the appeal," Nhleko's spokesperson Sandile Ngidi told News24.

Ngidi said Nhleko was appealing the ruling because Ntlemeza had not been given a chance to respond to charges.

Kwinika said Ntlemeza's appointment had been a source of controversy from day one.

Nhleko had acknowledged to Parliament’s police committee that there were shortcomings in Ntlemeza's appointment, Kwinika said.

"The question is why go all the way to defend a pensioner like General Ntlemeza? This brazen behaviour from the minister is totally unacceptable."

Lacked integrity, honesty

Nhleko was found to have ignored two court judgments which found that Ntlemeza lacked integrity and honesty, when he appointed him head of the elite police unit.

"It was not for the minister, nor was it enough for the minister, to read the said judgments and formulate his opinion without placing them before the interview panel," Judge David Mabuse ruled on Friday.

The findings in both previous judgments constituted "direct evidence" that Ntlemeza lacked the requisite honesty, integrity, and conscientiousness to hold public office.

"The minister simply brushed aside a considered opinion of a superior court," Mabuse said.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law had brought the application. The HSF asked the court to refer the appointment back to a selection panel for a new candidate to be chosen.

Ntlemeza was appointed as national head of the Hawks in September 2015. In November 2015, the HSF wrote to Nhleko asking for the reasons for his decision.

In an affidavit explaining why he had appointed Ntlemeza, Nhleko said he had been satisfied with Ntlemeza's explanation regarding the previous court judgments against him.