Johannesburg - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko will appeal the judgment of the high court in Pretoria, which set aside the appointment of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation head, Major-General Berning Ntlemeza.
Nhleko’s spokesperson Sandile Ngidi said the minister would file court papers on Monday. “The appeal process will effectively suspend the current court order and will allow General Ntlemeza to stay in his job until the matter is heard and adjudicated as per the appeal,” Ngidi explained.
The appeal comes after the high court in Pretoria on Friday ruled Ntlemeza’s appointment as head of the elite unit, the Hawks, was irrational and unlawful.
The application was brought by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law after another court had indicated that Ntlemeza was not a fit and proper candidate for the position of national head of the Hawks.
“These judgments are replete with the findings of dishonesty and mala fides (bad faith) against Major-General Ntlemeza. These were judicial pronouncements,” the ruling of the high court said.
“They, therefore, constitute direct evidence that Major-General Ntlemeza lacks the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientiousness to occupy the position of any public office.”
Ntlemeza was appointed by Nhleko in September 2015.
Freedom Under Law chairperson, retired Judge Johann Kriegler, said Nhleko was entitled to appeal the court’s judgment. “But we are confident that we will succeed at the next court hearing.
“It is a pity that General Ntlemeza will stay a little while longer,” Kriegler added.
The Helen Suzman Foundation’s Anton van Dalsen said they would wait for Nhleko to lodge his appeal formally.
“We are not going to comment until we have confirmation,” Van Dalsen said.
The decision to appeal the court ruling flies in the face of the ANC’s hopes of having the matter closed.
“This judgment follows an admission made by the Minister of Police comrade Nathi Nhlekoto in Parliament last year that an error had been made in the procedure to appoint General Ntlemeza,” ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Friday.
“The ANC trusts, therefore, that today’s judgment brings this matter to finality.”
Kodwa could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Ntlemeza on Sunday remained tight-lipped on the court’s decision.
Instead, he went to Katlehong where he joined congregants at the Incredible Happenings Ministry at a service on Sunday morning. They laid their hands on him and prayed for him.
The church is run by controversial prophet Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng.
Before going up to the podium, Ntlemeza sat quietly and listened to the sermon by Motsoeneng as well as details of a handful of criminal cases related by some congregants.
Later, the jovial Hawks general joked he didn’t know who had informed the media about his visit to the church.
He said there was nothing sinister about his visit to the place of worship. “We never planned this yesterday. We planned it long ago,” he said.
Ntlemeza addressed congregants, saying members of the community had to assist the police in tackling crime. “Those who possess illegal firearms must hand them in. Their days are numbered,” he said.
He also urged congregants to pray for the police and against police killings, adding that law-enforcement officials too are human beings and have families.
“The Hawks will go on to do their work and deal with the mandate given to them. Let’s support them as loving people of this country. Unless we are all criminals.
“But I believe there is no criminal in the church.”
And as the sermon ended, Ntlemeza rushed out of the church with his bodyguards.