‘I feel inadequate and have low self-esteem‚’ Ntlemeza tells SCA

03 May 2017 - 12:33 By Kyle Cowan

An attorney for suspended Hawks boss Major General Berning Ntlemeza has told the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein that the North Gauteng High Court did not have the jurisdiction to grant an order to remove him from office.

Comfort Ngidi made the comment in an application for leave to appeal filed with the SCA late last month. The application also reveals a vulnerable side to Ntlemeza‚ who says in the same court papers that he feels “inadequate” after he was effectively fired by newly appointed police minister Fikile Mbalula.

“With respect the court committed an error in granting the enforcement order because the removal of the national Head of Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) is regulated by the provisions of section 17DA of the SAPS Act (68 of 1995)‚” Ngidi wrote.

“The court had no jurisdiction to grant an order which has the effect of removing the appellant (Ntlemeza) from office‚” he continued.

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In March‚ the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria reviewed and set aside Ntlemeza’s appointment as head of the Hawks. The judgment followed a high court ruling in 2015 which found that Ntlemeza had made false statements under oath and lacked integrity.

Following the March ruling‚ Ntlemeza approached the SCA to appeal the Pretoria court's decision.

In his application to the SCA‚ Ngidi also argued that the judgment was not in line with the policies that govern the separation of powers.

“The enforcement order granted by the court has‚ with respect‚ the effect of interfering with the principle of separation of powers‚ an issue which should be dealt with by this Honourable Court in this appeal and the main appeal in the event of leave to appeal being granted.”

Attached to the application was an affidavit by Ntlemeza‚ which also raised several key issues.

He argued that the court did not attach any weight to the judgment delivered by Judge Neil Tuchten‚ who he says rejected the “pronouncements made by Judge Matojane about my character”.

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Ntlemeza said when he was interviewed for the position of Hawks boss‚ he had informed the panel of a memorandum attached to his application explaining his version of events regarding two different reports by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

In the affidavit‚ Ntlemeza said his failure to disclose the existence of one Ipid report ultimately led to Matojane’s remarks that he was “dishonest and lacked integrity”.

The Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law have called the written explanation provided to the interview panel “inadequate and insufficient”‚ and said that the police minister at the time‚ Nathi Nhleko‚ should have further investigated the comments by Matojane.

“It is not clear in what respects was the explanation by myself inadequate‚” Ntlemeza said in his affidavit to the SCA.

He also emphasised that the minister had told the court he had not ignored Matojane's judgment‚ but had disagreed with him.

Ntlemeza's affidavit also questions the status of the same interview panel – who the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law have maintained appointed him without having Matojane’s judgment before them.

“I am advised by my legal representatives that another court could come to a different conclusion because the interview panel was not a statutory body and therefore‚ the minister was not obliged to establish it and even obtain its views. It was therefore‚ not mandatory for the Minister to place the judgements of Matojane before the panel‚” Ntlemeza argued.

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Under compelling grounds to support the application‚ Ntlemeza asks the court to give a proper interpretation of the SAPS Act.

“My career as a policeman is now entirely in the hands of this Honourable Court. I have served my country faithfully‚ patriotically and with distinction for a period of more than 35 years‚” he remarks in conclusion.

“The decision by the court has a devastating blow to not only me but my family and to the country as a whole.”

“I now find myself inadequate with a very low self-esteem and a perpetual blemish. The reputation I have built over the years without a blemish has now been shattered at the time when I am in the afternoon of my career as a policeman‚” Ntlemeza’s affidavit reads.

Ntlemeza has also launched an application with the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria seeking an interdict to prevent Mbalula from barring him from entering the Hawks head office in Pretoria‚ to stop Mbalula from interfering with his official duties and further to return to him his official vehicle and cell phone‚ saying without these he could not attend official meetings.

He said Mbalula was hostile and on a “warpath” and asked the court to allow him to remain head of the Hawks‚ pending the outcome of the SCA appeal.

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