Court mulls Dramat suspension

The High Court has reserved judgement in a legal battle over the suspension of the Hawks boss.

Hawks boss Anwa Dramat. Picture: Facebook.

PRETORIA - The High Court in Pretoria today reserved judgement in a legal battle over the suspension of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's lawyers have defended his decision to place Dramat on precautionary suspension last year which is being challenged by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF).

Dramat was suspended for his alleged role in illegal renditions of four Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

The HSF has argued that last year's Constitutional Court order compels Nhleko to institute a Parliamentary inquiry before taking action.

Lawyers have presented two very different interpretations of the Constitutional Court order, the HSF says the power has been removed but the Police Ministry says this is not true.

Acting for Nhleko, Advocate William Mokhari argued that the chief justice has allowed the minister to bypass Parliament at his discretion.

Mokhari also says because the South African Police Services (Saps) is tied to the state's security agency, its employees are subject to the Public Service's Act.

Although Mokhari has denied the minister has made an unlawful decision, he says if the suspension is lifted, a new case must be made for Dramat to be returned to work.

Earlier, the HSF's lawyer David Unterhalter told Eyewitness News that Dramat is not ready to discuss his suspension with the minister until it's lifted.

The ministry has questioned on which basis the court challenge is being launched and the foundation has responded by saying the matter is in the public interest and it wants to ensure the law is applied properly.

Dramat is reportedly due to meet Nhleko today but the HSF says these talks have been postponed until its court challenge is concluded.

The HSF argues the police minister's decision to suspend Dramat is politically motivated.

In a brief sitting last week, the High Court heard that Dramat is willing to discuss an early retirement as the suspension dragged on.

In his responding affidavits, the police minister questions HSF's right to challenge the suspension and whether this is supported by Dramat.

The minister says it seems the HSF has appointed itself Dramat's guardian without his approval and questioned why the Hawks boss is a respondent and not co-applicant in the suspension challenge.

The foundation is also questioning the appointment of Hawks acting head Mthandazo Ntlemeza which it says is not supported by the Constitution.