Committee that recommended Hawks boss Ntlemeza was 'ill-equipped', court hears

Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza and the Helen Suzman Foundation have met in court several times. (Lucky Nxumalo, M&G)

Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza and the Helen Suzman Foundation have met in court several times. (Lucky Nxumalo, M&G)

The committee that recommended Berning Ntlemeza for the job of Hawks head did not have the full findings by two judges which found him biased, the high court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

The remarks by Judge Elias Matojane that Ntlemeza lacked “integrity and honour” and had made false statements under oath were relevant to his appointment, David Unterhalter, for the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law, argued.

The organisations want Ntlemeza’s appointment declared irrational and unlawful, and set aside. Unterhalter said Motajane’s comments about Ntlemeza were relevant to his fitness to hold office.

According to papers read in court, the committee - consisting of the ministers of justice and state security, and the deputy police minister - had unanimously recommended Ntlemeza for the top job.

However, this committee was ill-equipped to make this recommendation.

“What we have is a committee that makes recommendations and that recommendation is then served before Cabinet, which is one of the decision makers,” Unterhalter said.

“Cabinet is not expected to spend its time into the eccentricities of each of the candidates. It relies on those that make recommendations to it. 

“However, if those who had made the recommendation did not have all the documentation and facts, their decision was “simply not rational”.  

‘Lacks integrity and honour’
Unterhalter said the committee did not have all the relevant information when it recommended Ntlemeza for the post.

“We know that the committee didn’t have the judgment, didn’t look at it, didn’t consider them, didn’t assess how those judgments were relevant. Earlier, William Mokhari, for Ntlemeza, said the court should not consider a judge’s remarks as findings.  

“For the applicants to want this court to find the remarks constitute a decision or an order, we say that is wrong. In order to determine whether an order has been made, you have to look at the entire judgment.” 

In March 2015, Matojane ruled that Ntlemeza “lacks integrity and honour” and had made false statements under oath. He was acting Hawks head at the time. 

Ntlemeza and the HSF had met in court several times following the suspension of former Hawks head Anwa Dramat for his alleged involvement of the alleged illegal rendition of a group of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

Ntlemeza was appointed in an acting capacity. KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen and the unit’s Gauteng head, Shadrack Sibiya, were subsequently suspended. Dramat later quit. - News24

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