Police Minister Fikile Mbalula addressing media on the actions of axed Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza. Next to Mbalula is Hawks spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA
Tshwane – Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday instructed acting national police commissioner Johannes Phahlane to find disgraced former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza and seize the state vehicle and cellphone from him.

"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 Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), popularly known as the Hawks, in Pretoria.

"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."

Mbalula said there are "no two heads of the Hawks", except for Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata whom he appointed in an acting capacity recently to replace Ntlemeza.

"There is no state of crisis. We are aware the battle is now being fought outside the courts and the law is being disregarded. Where the law is being disregarded, it can only be in a banana republic. Our constitutional democracy and our law enforcement is being challenged. I have explained, in no uncertain terms, to General Phahlane the implications of him failing act on General Ntlemeza. Whether they are friends or not, the law must be enforced," said Mbalula.

"He [Ntlemeza] has no right to enter and instruct anybody to take orders from him, I'm as far as the Hawks are concerned. I have explained that to General Matakata too and she understands that very well. It is business as usual, but unusual when it comes to fighting crime. We don't need this drama and this Hollywood movie. This is simply a movie that must come to an end."

It emerged on Monday morning that Ntlemeza sneaked back into the elite police unit’s head offices in Pretoria, avoiding a contingent of news crews and protesters at the main entrance. Earlier this month, Mbalula said he had instructed Phahlane to recoup all state assets from Ntlemeza.

“I have explained to the top management of the Hawks that it is important that we move in concert going forward. There was nobody who was here to serve an individual,” Mbalula said at a media briefing.

“We are all here to save the country. To that effect, I have directed [Lieutenant] General Phahlane , to get everything that belongs to the state from General Ntlemeza, as of immediate effect.

“That [the state assets in Ntlemeza’s possession] must be handed over to the new acting head of Hawks Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata.”

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

This month, 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 has appealed the ruling.

Mbalula also 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, the Freedom Under Law and Helen Suzman Foundation brought arguments before the court saying Ntlemeza was not fit and proper to hold office – the court agreed with them.

Last month, the court ruled that Ntlemeza lacks the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientiousness to occupy any public office, and declared his appointment invalid and unlawful. The then police minister Nhleko appealed the ruling.