Dramat's absence to be argued in High Court

It’s understood Police Minister Nathi Nhleko will attempt to get the case thrown out.

FILE: Hawks boss Anwa Dramat. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News understands the Helen Suzman Foundation will today argue that the absence of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat could cause irreparable damage to high profile and sensitive investigations.

The foundation will challenge the matter in the High Court in Pretoria, but it's understood Police Minister Nathi Nhleko will attempt to get the case thrown out.

Dramat was placed on suspension by Nhleko at the end of last year for allegedly taking part in the rendition of four Zimbabwean men in 2010.

In its head of argument, the foundation questions the timing of Dramat's suspension.

It says he was only issued with a notice to take him off the job once he started centralising high profile investigations.

While its challenge is based on the interpretation of the law, the foundation warns that the suspension could cause some of those investigations to collapse.

It also wants the appointment of the acting Hawk's boss to be set aside, saying Nhleko had not authority to replace Dramat.

The matter will be heard in the High Court later this morning.

SIBIYA DIRECTLY IMPLICATED IN RENDITION

At the same time, the Hawks say its Gauteng unit head Shadrack Sibiya has been directly implicated in the rendition of the four men from Johannesburg to Zimbabwe and have set next Monday as a deadline for him to give reasons why he should not be removed from his job.

Sibiya was served notice of suspension for the second time yesterday, hours before a Labour Court challenge against new acting head Mthandazo Ntlemeza.

The unit says it withdrew the first notice to supplement it with additional information.

"Initially he had indicated that there wasn't enough evidence so at this time we have made sure that we have included everything."

The rendition case was investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and it's still unclear if its outcome, which reportedly clears Sibiya, formed part of his submission to the court.

On Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance in Parliament said Nhleko must reveal if he appointed the acting head of the Hawks in order to purge allies of Dramat.

Ntlemeza was appointed by Nhleko following Dramat's suspension.

The minister has been asked appear before Parliament's Police Portfolio Committee later this month to explain what's happening inside the elite unit.

'HAWKS PLUNGED INTO CHAOS'

Lawyers representing Sibiya say the confusion around his notice of suspension is plunging the unit into chaos and compromising investigations in South Africa's economic hub.

Sibiya's lawyer Victor Nkhwashu says since Gauteng is the economic centre of the country the effect of the suspension is gravely concerning.

"This is simply plunging the economy into chaos because the council is not able to make a decision and have this joke that is happening in public now which is very embarrassing for our service and country."