Constitutional democracy groups Freedom Under Law (FUL) and the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) have welcomed the forced retirement of Hawks boss General Berning Ntlemeza, but warn that the broad-fronted assault on the integrity of state institutions is far from over.
Earlier this week, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that Ntlemeza would retire after his failed bid in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) against an earlier judgment that found his appointment as Hawks head was invalid.
Mbalula said he had decided not to appeal the ruling and had directed the SA Police Service to commence processing Ntlemeza’s immediate retirement, but at the level of a major-general and not lieutenant-general, which was the rank he was promoted to.
FUL and HSF said in a statement they were pleased their challenge to Ntlemeza’s appointment, which was launched in the High Court in Pretoria nearly 18 months ago, had finally succeeded.
However, they said the general’s “bullying and at times near-farcical conduct” was only a relatively minor phase in the broad-fronted assault on the integrity of the country’s state institutions.
“There is still a great deal to be fixed and it is up to civil society to see it is fixed.
“In particular, SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane has clearly not finished with his takeover of Sars, as his blustering, pressed performance earlier this week shows.
“The persecution of Sars’ employee Vlok Symington continues – his memorandum sank the case against [former finance minister] Pravin Gordhan and the other former Sars officials.
“Ntlemeza’s departure does not set right the nationwide makeover of the Hawks’ upper echelon since the contrived expulsion of generals Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya.
“The attempts to have suspended crime intelligence head General Richard Mdluli brought to book are still being frustrated.
“The attempts to rid the National Prosecuting Authority of the officials who blocked the case against Mdluli – disbarred advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi – continues.
“So does the case for the dismissal of current NPA head Shaun Abrahams and the nullification of his predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana’s ‘retirement’,” the organisations said. – firstname.lastname@example.org