The urgent application launched yesterday by Freedom Under Law (FUL) and the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) aims to have General Berning Ntlemeza prevented from exercising any of his powers as national head of the Hawks, pending the outcome of a review of Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko’s decision to appoint Ntlemeza to this position. The review was launched simultaneously with the urgent proceedings.
FUL and the HSF say Ntlemeza’s appointment was irrational and unlawful. Proper consideration could not have been given in the appointment process to damning court findings as to his integrity, honesty and fitness to hold public office.
Judge Johann Kriegler, FUL chair, says that the proceedings form part of
FUL’s ongoing endeavour to counter the erosion of the country’s criminal justice system. “That is why we have launched court case after court case to challenge the questionable appointment or continuation in office of persons in key positions, such as the Western Cape Judge President, the head of SAPS Crime Intelligence and a deputy head of the National Prosecuting Authority, and to challenge the curious ‘resignation’ of the previous National Director of Public Prosecutions. As recent events show, the health of our democracy requires that public officials be persons of the highest integrity whose only agenda must be that of advancing the public interest. That is especially true of someone appointed to head our elite crime-fighting force, which is charged with investigating the most grave and politically sensitive matters.”