Ruling on Hawks boss a ‘victory for Constitution’

Anwa Dramat’s suspension was overturned, with the presiding judge saying it was unlawful.

FILE: Hawks boss Anwa Dramat’s lawyer says today's judgement in favour of his client in the High Court in Pretoria is not only a victory for Dramat but also for the South African Constitution. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The lawyer of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat says today's judgement in favour of his client in the High Court in Pretoria is not only a victory for Dramat but also for the South African Constitution.

Dramat's suspension was overturned, with the presiding judge saying it was unlawful.

He was suspended last month by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko for his alleged involvement in the rendition of four Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

But Dramat says Nhleko took this action because the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) wanted to investigate politically sensitive cases, including President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead in Kwazulu-Natal.

The court application was brought by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF).

Lawyer Johan Nortje says they are celebrating.

"It's a victory, not only for Dramat but also it's a Constitutional issue here and we said that from the outset."

The Helen Suzman Foundation 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 suspension issue last year.

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.

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."