Berning Ntlemeza to ‘retire’

Berning Ntlemeza to ‘retire’

Former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza. Picture: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave

The disgraced former head of the Hawks appears to have reached the end of his bumpy road.

Former head of the Hawks Mthandazo “Berning” Ntlemeza will soon be “considered retired” according to a statement from the ministry of police.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula removed the controversial policeman in the wake of a damning high court ruling.

The Supreme Court of Appeal later ruled against Ntlemeza’s bid to appeal the high court judgment that set aside his appointment. The former police minister, Nathi Nhleko, had appointed Ntlemeza “irrationally”, the court found because of findings that Ntlemeza had lied under oath and was not suitable for his job.

“The appeal is dismissed with costs including the costs of two counsel. The appellant is ordered to pay the costs personally,” the court judgment read.

The former head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) wanted to be reinstated while his application for leave to appeal was considered.

Ntlemeza had appealed against the High Court in Pretoria’s decision which found that his appointment was unlawful. He was declared unfit to hold any public office.

The Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law brought the initial case against Ntlemeza and the police minister.

On May 17, Advocate Nceba Dukada, for Ntlemeza, told the court that Mbalula had illegally and prematurely elbowed Ntlemeza out of office.

At the time, Ntlemeza requested Mphahlele to bar Mbalula from blocking him from returning to work, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court of Appeal action.

Dukada argued that since Ntlemeza had filed the SCA appeal, that action automatically suspended the enforcement order of the high court which removed him from office.

The High Court in Pretoria had, however, ruled that its earlier finding that Ntlemeza was not a fit and proper person to lead the Hawks should come into immediate effect even though he had appealed the ruling.

Ntlemeza was appointed permanently to the position by Nhleko in September 2015, despite Judge Elias Matojane having found that the general “lacks integrity and honour” and had lied under oath.

Subsequently, Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation brought arguments before the court saying Ntlemeza was not fit and proper to hold office – the court agreed with them.

In March, the court ruled that Ntlemeza lacks the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientiousness to occupy any public office, and declared his appointment invalid and unlawful. Then police minister Nhleko appealed the ruling before Mbalula’s intervention.

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