Parliament washes its hands of Ntlemeza

Parliament will, for now, not intervene in the debacle surrounding the axing of Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza.

Axed Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza

That’s the message from the chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committee on police‚ Francois Beukman.

Ntlemeza has said that he can only be fired by parliament.

But Beukman told TimesLIVE that the issue was not something that the committee would become involved in.

“We only become involved in disciplinary matters when they are referred to us‚” he said.

Ntlemeza‚ who is to appeal his dismissal as Hawks boss in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA)‚ was axed last week by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The minister fired Ntlemeza after the Pretoria High Court upheld a previous ruling that had called for his appointment to be reviewed.

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Beukman said‚ as far as parliament was concerned‚ the court’s ruling was final.

“The minister has followed the court order. This is not a disciplinary matter. It’s about whether Ntlemeza’s appointment is valid or not‚” he said.

Ntlemeza’s lawyer‚ Comfort Ngidi‚ said he would file papers in the SCA by Friday.

“We need to file this week as Mr Ntlemeza is due back at work on Monday.”

He said to get Ntlemeza back at work‚ there were two processes to be followed.

Ngidi said the first was through an automatic appeal to the SCA‚ which suspends last week’s court ruling until the appeal is over‚ and the second was through parliament.

“If Ntlemeza is removed from his position‚ then it calls into question what happens to his future relationship with his employer. In our view the police must decide on how this relationship is to work.”

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He said he believed that the ministry and the police would have to use the Police Act to determine this‚ “which means that this matter will have to go before parliament“.

“The entire objective around the creation of the Hawks was to ensure that its head was independent and free of any interference. It’s therefore not that easy to just say that you are going to remove the head.”

Beukman declined to comment on possible future approaches to parliament to have Ntlemeza’s appointment reviewed. – Tiso Black Star Group/Graeme Hosken

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