Police Minister Nathi Nhleko is set to appeal the Pretoria High Court ruling that set aside the appointment of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza.
City Press has learnt that Nhleko was of the view that the court’s pronouncement went against the principle of separation of powers, and therefore a different court could come to a different conclusion.
Nhleko appointed Ntlemeza as the national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, on September 10 2015.
However, the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law took the matter to court, arguing that the appointment was unlawful, irrational, procedurally unfair and otherwise unconstitutional. They applied for the appointment to be reviewed and set aside.
Handing down the judgment, the full bench of three judges declared that Nhleko was aware, when appointing Ntlemeza to a senior position, of the remarks made in previous judgments that questioned Ntlemeza’s integrity and were “replete with the findings of dishonesty and mala fides against Major General Ntlemeza”.
Yet he ignored them in the exercise of his powers.
“The minister simply brushed aside a considered opinion of a superior court. The question here is not one of discretion, but whether the person who has been described by such judicial pronouncement can be appointed in the face of such pronouncements,” said Judge PM Mabuse in the judgment, which Judge N Kollapen and Judge S Baqwa agreed with.
“This was a quintessential example of the minister completely ignoring and brushing aside remarks by a court.”
They cited, among other things, the appointment of Advocate Menzi Simelane as a director of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which was overturned by the Constitutional Court when it found that the remarks made by the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry constituted evidence that was of supreme relevance to Simelane’s credibility, honesty, integrity and conscientiousness. It found that ignoring such remarks nullified President Jacob Zuma’s ultimate decision of appointing Simelane, saying those remarks had a direct effect on the NPA head’s character.
“In appointing him, the president had completely ignored such finding,” the Constitutional Court ruling concluded.
Two sources close to Ntlemeza said the minister planned to announcement his reaction to the ruling today.
Ntlemeza was unperturbed about the court’s decision on Friday and continued with his work. One of the officials with him, who asked not to be named as he is not the official spokesperson of the Hawks, told City Press that Ntlemeza’s initial reaction to the news about his fate was to say that he was not appointed by the court.
The ANC on Friday said it noted and respected the judgment delivered by the Pretoria High Court.
“The ANC trusts, therefore, that today’s judgment brings this matter to finality,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Ntlemeza received immediate support from the infamous Prophet Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng, who issued a statement inviting people to his church to witness a special prayer for Ntlemeza.