Defiant new Hawks boss aims to fight crime

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Thursday appointed Berning Ntlemeza as the permanent head of the unit.

YouTube screengrab of head of the Hawks Berning Ntlemeza.

PRETORIA - Undeterred by his critics, newly appointed head of the Hawks Berning Ntlemeza believes he is the man for the job and has asked South Africans to support him in the fight against crime.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko announced on Thursday that the career policeman, with 34 years of experience, has been appointed as the permanent head of the unit.

He has however been widely criticised in recent months following a scathing finding in the High Court which found that he had lied under oath.

But defiant Ntlemeza says he's committed to upholding the law and is dedicated to the Hawks.

"I'm focused to fight crime in this country, to make sure that the people of this country are safe."

He's dismissive of Judge Elias Matojane's findings against him.

"The judge was just doing that in passing. He never put his mind in what he was just saying. That was just a comment which was not even based on facts."

Ntlemeza says he won't use his position to protect anyone from prosecution, politicians or otherwise.

He has vowed not to abuse his authority.

"In this position I'm not going to protect anyone, I'll be treating the people of this country equally."

He has also asked South Africans to support him in the fight against crime.

Nhleko said Ntlemeza was the best candidate for the job.

"He's also in possession of relevant skills and qualifications for a job such as this."

Ntlemeza has been acting head of the unit since December 2014 following Anwa Dramat's suspension for his alleged involvement in the rendition of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010.

Dramat resigned earlier this year after a settlement agreement was reached.

Politics, he said, had nothing to do with the decision.

The Helen Suzman foundation says it's considering asking the courts to review Ntlemeza's appointment.