Disgraced Hawks head Lieutenant-General Berning Ntlemeza has lost his urgent legal bid to get his job back.
Judge Sheila Mphahlele struck Ntlemeza’s urgent application off the urgent court roll with costs, saying he had not shown that he would suffer any prejudice if he could not return to his job immediately.
She said the interest of justice far outweighed any possible harm to Ntlemeza. He was currently still earning his full salary and failed to show that he would suffer any serious prejudice if he did not return to his job immediately.
Ntlemeza not only wanted his job, cellphone and official vehicle back, but also wanted the court to interdict Police Minister Fikile Mbalula from “intimidating” him and making public statements which embarrass, humiliate and subject him to ridicule.
The Minister vehemently opposed Ntlemeza’s application and accused him of trying to score “power political points” with his urgent application.
A full bench of the High Court in Pretoria on March 17 set aside former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s decision to appoint Ntlemeza as head of the Hawks and found that he lacked the honesty, integrity and conscientiousness for the top post.
The full court ruled that Nhleko had ignored remarks made by Judge Elias Matojane in two judgments in which he severely criticised Ntlemeza. The SCA turned down Ntlemeza’s bid to appeal against Judge Matojane’s rulings.
The full bench last month refused Ntlemeza leave to appeal against their March 17 ruling and granted an order to the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law to enforce their March 17 ruling despite any possible petition or appeal.
Ntlemeza maintained his appeal against the enforcement automatically suspended that order and that Mbalula was therefore acting unlawfully when he refused allow him back in office pending his appeal.
Mbalula argued that the enforcement order was clear and pertained to any appeals – also an appeal against the enforcement order – and that it was not for a single judge in an urgent court to overturn the full bench ruling.
Judge Mphahlele agreed with the Minister. She said the wording of the enforcement order was quite clear and she was satisfied that it related to any appeal against the enforcement order as well.
The Judge said it was not in dispute that Judge Matojane had found Ntlemeza to be dishonest, dishonorable and that he had acted in bad faith and lacked integrity. His petition for leave to appeal against that ruling was dismissed by the SCA.
She said a full bench had found that he lacked fitness and property and should not be allowed to remain in public office a day longer than necessary.
The urgent court was not competent to rule if the full court had been correct or not in granting the enforcement order. That matter would be fully ventilated in the SCA on 2 June, she added.
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