Berning Ntlemeza
Pretoria – Disgraced former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza requested the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday to bar Police Minister Fikile Mbalula from blocking him from returning to work, pending the outcome of a Supreme Court of Appeal action.

Ntlemeza’s legal representative Advocate Nceba Dukada argued that Ntlemeza has filed a SCA appeal, which automatically suspends the enforcement order of the high court.

“The applicant, once he has exercised his right to appeal, then the enforcement order 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 Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, commonly known as 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 on Wednesday.

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

Ntlemeza’s SCA appeal is set down for June 2.

Last month, Mbalula told a media briefing that he would send police tactical units to seize state property from Ntlemeza if the latter did not comply.

“We’ve been informed that General Ntlemeza entered the management meeting of the Hawks, at the Hawks headquarters this morning, and he ordered the head of supply chain to give him a car which is now roaming around the streets of Pretoria or wherever he is this afternoon. He also has a cellphone of government in his possession, and whatever that he has got,” Mbalula told journalists at the headquarters of the Hawks.

“I have communicated with General Phahlane before I came in here, that all of that must be found and brought back to the state, and all shall be in order. Should anybody enter these premises, in whatever guise, it is illegal and that person must be arrested with immediate effect.”

It had emerged that Ntlemeza had sneaked back into the elite police unit’s head offices in Pretoria, avoiding a contingent of news crews and protesters at the main entrance.

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.