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Calls for acting Hawks boss to face disciplinary action

ISS says Berning Ntlemeza must face disciplinary action for lying under oath and trying to mislead a court.

FILE: ISS says Berning Ntlemeza must face disciplinary action for lying under oath and trying to mislead a court. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - There are calls for acting head of the Hawks Berning Ntlemeza to face a disciplinary inquiry for lying under oath and attempting to mislead the court.

These were among the findings in the High Court in Pretoria, when it dismissed Ntlemeza's application to appeal an earlier order declaring Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya's suspension unlawful and invalid.

"Vindictive, biased and lacking" integrity is how Judge Elias Matojane described Ntlemeza when he ruled that Sibiya may return to work immediately.

Ironically, Ntlemeza's current appointment was declared unlawful in January, following an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation.

The Institute for Security Studies' (ISS) Gareth Newham says the police disciplinary procedure states that if a member lies under oath, steps should be taken against the person.

"It's very clear that the Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics of the South African Police Service is taken seriously at the highest level. So we should see the minister starting to take action there if he wants to try and redeem the situation."

ISS QUESTIONS HAWKS' CREDIBILITY

Warnings have emerged that the scathing court ruling against the acting Hawks head would further cripple the unit's ability to properly fight serious crime.

Sibiya and the suspended head of the unit, Anwa Dramat, were implicated in the illegal rendition of five Zimbabwean suspects in 2010, but the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) cleared them both.

Newham said this judgment had destroyed all trust in the Hawks leadership.

"South Africans now know they can't trust Ntlemeza and that is worrying because he holds a high position and fights organised crime and corruption."

The Police Ministry as well as the National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's office have not responded to requests for comment.

SIBIYA RARING TO GET BACK TO WORK

Meanwhile, the Hawks boss' attorney on Monday said his client wanted to get back to fighting crime as soon as possible, but was unfortunately still recovering after a serious car crash.

His attorney Victor Nkhwashu said, "We believe that the rule of law has been maintained by this judgment and we just hope that the institution of justice can proceed and my client can just go back to work and do what he does best - fight crime."

PICTURE: A picture of Shadrack Sibiya's car after he rolled it on 16 March