Major General Nhlamvu Elias Dlamini has been appointed acting head of the Hawks in Gauteng, after Major General Shadrack Sibiya was suspended, the crime-fighting body said on Thursday.
Acting national head Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza made the appointment on Wednesday, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said.
Ntlemeza was appointed by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko late last year after the minister suspended Hawks commander Anwa Dramat.
Dlamini, currently cluster commander in Pienaarsrivier, will be acting in Sibiya’s place.
Sibiya was handed a notice of intention of suspension from the post on January 5. An application to get reasons for this was struck from the roll of the Labour Court in Johannesburg last week Wednesday. After Sibiya submitted reasons why he should not be suspended, the notice was withdrawn.
However, a new suspension notice was issued to him on January 14, just hours after the first one was withdrawn. The Hawks confirmed on January 20 that Sibiya had been suspended with full pay.
The move was related to his alleged involvement in the deportation of four Zimbabweans in 2010. Allegations that the suspects were deported illegally surfaced.
Earlier this week Mulaudzi said the suspension would last as long as the investigation took – and that the Hawks would ensure all processes were followed.
Dramat: we are being targeted
Dramat was suspended on the same charges as Sibiya and senior Hawks official Leslie Maluleke. A fourth official, KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen, was also placed on suspension but this was temporarily overturned in court.
Dramat has claimed that they are being targeted because of high profile investigations they were undertaking. Dramat’s suspension and Ntlemeza’s appointment have been challenged in the high court in Pretoria by the Helen Suzman Foundation.
An investigation into the allegations by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) was launched. In Booysen’s case, the surface-level allegation is that he oversaw the functioning of a rogue police unit in KwaZulu-Natal that allegedly operated as a covert hit squad.
Ipid will not make the report public and the police will not disclose what the report said. But sources say the report cleared the officials of the allegations. The report was handed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in early 2014 and no decision to prosecute has been taken so far. This means that for almost a year the police have known the results of the Ipid investigation without taking action.
The Mail & Guardian reported last week that the head of Ipid, Robert McBride, confirmed at a meeting where Dramat’s legal team was present that the Ipid investigation cleared him. Last week City Press cited a police source confirming that McBride supports Dramat. But the source said the Ipid report did not clear Maluleke. McBride is not commenting publicly.
On Thursday former National Prosecuting Authority employee turned MP Glynnis Breytenbach said that the allegations against Dramat were baseless and he had already been cleared by the Ipid.
Speaking to the Cape Town press club, Breytenbach said that prosecutorial independence has been dying in the country, listing different cases from President Jacob Zuma’s spy tapes case, to the more recent suspension of Dramat.
Ntlemeza under a cloud
On January 16, the M&G reported that an affidavit obtained by investigator Paul O’Sullivan had alleged that Ntlemeza acted to protect a police officer accused of serious offences while in his previous position as Limpopo deputy provincial commissioner.
The affidavit, which amaBhungane had seen, also showed that the complaint concerning Ntlemeza’s handling of the case – the officer was later dismissed for possession of stolen property – was brought to Nhleko’s attention shortly before he appointed Ntlemeza. – Mail & Guardian, Sapa