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Hawks boss's unlawful suspension overturned

Anwa Dramat was suspended last month by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.

FILE: Hawks boss Anwa Dramat. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Hawks Boss Anwa Dramat's suspension has been overturned after a judge in the Pretoria High Court found that it was unlawful.

Dramat was suspended from the police watchdog unit last month by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.

The Helen Suzman Foundation subsequently made an application to the court, saying Nhleko did not have the power to suspend Dramat after a ruling by the Constitutional Court on the issue last year.

Dramat has claimed through his lawyer that he was suspended because he wanted to investigate politically sensitive cases, including President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home.

But Nhleko has remained adamant that Dramat was suspended for his alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

At the same time, the Democratic Alliance says the police minister knew he didn't have the power to suspend Dramat, but did so anyway.

The party says its position that Nhleko didn't have the authority to take action against the Hawks boss has been vindicated by the High Court.

The DA's Dianne Kohler-Barnard says, "It's curious that Dramat's suspension came the day after he focused on the Nkandla files which could implicate Jacob Zuma criminally."

Earlier this week, acting Hawks head Mthandazo Ntlemeza formally placed Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya on suspension.

Ntlemeza rejected Sibiya's reasons why he should remain in office.

His decision to suspend the Gauteng hawks boss comes in the wake of witness statements that directly implicated him in the illegal rendition of the Zimbabwean nationals.

It's not yet clear if Sibiya will challenge the latest suspension in court.