The disgraced Hawks boss believes only parliament can remove him, and he does not care what the courts or the minister think.
It is been reported that disgraced Hawks boss Mthandazo “Berning” Ntlemeza has no intentions of quitting, and in fact intends to stay on until 2022, when the 61-year-old’s term officially ends.
He told the media that he would be reporting for duty on Tuesday after taking “four days’ leave”, despite the fact that a new acting head is already in place in the form of Yolisa Matakata. Ntlemeza said she “is still my deputy” and “myself and Matakata do not have a problem”.
Police spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga has said the police are not sure whether Ntlemeza would report for duty, but they would decide how to deal with the situation if it arose.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed on Thursday he had instructed acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane to recoup all state assets from the disgraced former Hawks head.
“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 told a media briefing in Pretoria.
“We are all here to save the country. To that effect, I have directed [Lieutenant] General Phahlane from yesterday (Wednesday), to get everything that belongs to the state from General Ntlemeza, as of immediate effect.
“[The state assets in Ntlemeza’s possession] must be handed over to the new acting head of Hawks Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata.”
Mbalula, however, said his actions were not driven by malice towards Ntlemeza.
“As to whether that will be complied with, it is another case. If not, steps will be taken to ensure that there is peace and harmony. There is no need for fighting because our actions have not been malicious. It was to ensure that we implement what, in our view, was in the best interest for South Africans and in the execution of our mandate,” said Mbalula.
On Thursday, Mbalula announced the appointment of Matakata as the new acting national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), popularly known as the Hawks.
“On April 12, I the minister of police took a decision to withdraw the appeal lodged at the Supreme Court of Appeal, on the case brought by Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law (FUL). This means I must give effect to the [High Court] order of March 17 and set aside General [Berning] Ntlemeza’s appointment,” said Mbalula.
Ntlemeza’s appointment was nullified by the High Court in Pretoria.
On Wednesday 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, who was recently appointed police minister, on Wednesday 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 FUL and Helen Suzman Foundation brought arguments before the court saying Ntlemeza was not fit and proper to hold office – the court agreed with them.
Mbalula informed Ntlemeza of this decision and asked for his observance. Ntlemeza, however, told City Press he believed only parliament could remove him and that he was concerned “about the noise the minister is making”.
He said the Police Act protected the Hawks boss from dismissal by the minister. Ntlemeza therefore refused to sign an acknowledgment of the dismissal letter from Mbalula.
He also told City Press he was enjoying his holiday and said the minister was “misleading the public”