Berning Ntlemeza. Picture: GCIS

In The News Lead South Africa

Ntlemeza’s bid to return to work fails

PRETORIA, May 18 (ANA) – The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday dismissed an urgent application filed by disgraced former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza, who wanted to return to work pending his appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“The applicant [Ntlemeza] is currently earning his fulll salary, and further he is currently not performing any functions attaching to his employment. He has failed to show that he will suffer any prejudice by not having a work phone or car provided by his employer. As already mentioned, the appeal is already scheduled for hearing by the Supreme Court of Appeal on June 2, 2017. This will afford the applicant an opportunity to obtain substantial redress – if he is entitled to any,” Judge Sheila Mphahlele said as she delivered her ruling.

“Having regard to the findings I made in this judgement, I am of the view that this matter is not urgent and should be struck off the roll. I accordingly make the following order, that the matter is struck off the roll for want of urgency. The applicant [Ntlemeza] is to pay the cost of this application, including the cost of two counsel. That’s my order.”

On Wednesday, Ntlemeza’s representative, Advocate Nceba Dukada, told the court that Police Minister Fikile Mbalula had illegally and prematurely elbowed Ntlemeza out of office.

“If Your Ladyship [Judge Mphahlele ] were to strike out this application today, it would be tantamount to saying that the perpetual illegal conduct of the first respondent [Mbalula] which is occurring daily since the filing of the Supreme Court of Appeals appeal, should be condoned, swept under the carpet and nothing should be done,” Dukada argued.

“When the applicant [Ntlemeza] goes to the Supreme Court of Appeal on the 2nd of June, his appeal remedy remains unprotected. He is not in a position to go back to work because of the illegal conduct of the first respondent [Mbalula] who has refused to allow him to go back to work.”

Ntlemeza on Wednesday 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 applicant, once he has exercised his right to appeal, then the enforcement order [of the high court] is suspended until we have the outcome of that appeal,” said Dukada.

He said Mbalula had, in the meantime, apart from barring Ntlemeza from work, also “confiscated” the service vehicle and other accessories from his client who served as head of the Hawks.

“The applicant [Ntlemeza] wants this court to declare such conduct as unconstitutional. The applicant wants the court to prevent the illegal conduct of the first respondent [Mbalula],” said Dukada.

The legal counsel also told the court that the matter was urgent and Mbalula’s conduct was causing reputational damage to Ntlemeza.

“The reputational harm to the applicant [Ntlemeza] is quite pervased and it should be dealt with in favour of the applicant [Ntlemeza]. The applicant has also mentioned the conduct of the first respondent [Mbalula] on national television concerning the conduct of the applicant. These utterances need to be desisted forthwith to enable the applicant to prepare his appeal properly,” Dukada told the court.

Ntlemeza’s appointment was nullified by the High Court in Pretoria.

The court 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.

Subsequently, Mbalula withdraw the appeal lodged at the Supreme Court of Appeal against the finding that Ntlemeza’s appointment was “irrational and unlawful”.

Ntlemeza was appointed permanently to the position by former Police Minister Nathi 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.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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