The DA was present at the Hawks Head Office today and we were reliably informed that Berning Ntlemeza snuck into the building through the back-door, echoing his continuous efforts to evade accountability, and is back at work today. While the current court proceedings take their course, it is imperative that Parliament now take action and investigate Ntlemeza’s fitness to hold office.
The DA has thus written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, to call an urgent meeting of the committee, to enable Parliament to exercise its power in terms of section 17DA of the South African Police Services (SAPS) Act to institute proceedings to investigate Ntlemeza’s fitness to hold office.
Specifically, in terms of section 17DA(3) of the SAPS Act, Ntlemeza can be permanently removed by a finding of the committee on his misconduct, incapacity or incompetence, no matter the result of Ntlemeza’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) appeal.
As soon as the committee accedes to our request and initiates an inquiry, as we strongly believe it should, Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, would then be empowered to immediately suspend Ntlemeza.
This committee inquiry would not be a parallel process to the SCA hearing on Ntlemeza’s appeal nor would it be sub judice, as the substance of the two matters are entirely different.
The Helen Suzman Foundation’s (HSF) case revolves around the irrationality of Ntlemeza’s appointment by the Minister of Police, while a DA-initiated Parliamentary enquiry would investigate Ntlemeza’s current fitness to hold office.
While Ntlemeza’s invalidation of appointment as a result of the HSF case is now on hold as a result of his SCA appeal, a Parliamentary enquiry would allow the Minister to immediately suspend Ntlemeza regardless of the SCA appeal.
Parliament must exercise its oversight function immediately. It is clear that Ntlemeza is unfit for the job of heading up the Hawks – he has made this blatantly obvious on several occasions:
• In a North Gauteng High court case the judge stated that “The third respondent [Ntlemeza] elected to withhold from the court the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) report and the docket that was in his possession, to enable the court to make a proper assessment of the strength or otherwise of the case against the applicant [Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya],” and further that, “I am of the view that the conduct of the third respondent shows that he is biased and dishonest. To show that the third respondent is biased, lacks integrity and honour, he made false statements under oath.”
• The serious allegation by Vlok Symington that he was held “hostage” in the SARS boardroom by the Hawks under Ntlemeza’s watch.
• Ntlemeza wrote a letter to Shaun Abrahams which demonstrated his almost feverish determination to prosecute Pravin Gordhan even against all rationality – this letter shows irrationality and Ntlemeza acting in a biased manner. (See here)
The Hawks requires stability amongst its senior leadership which Ntlemeza continues to threaten. He cannot be allowed to continue to occupy the office of Head of the Hawks which allows his access to important investigations and information.
Parliament must now act swiftly to prevent any further damage to this vital crime fighting body.