Nhleko shields Ntlemeza from questions about former KZN Hawks boss

Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen has been accused of fraudulently submitting a reward claim.

FILE: Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has protected Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza from answering any questions relating to former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen.

The comments were made in Pretoria yesterday where the Police Department and senior South African Police Service (Saps) managers briefed the media on plans for this year.

Ntlemeza's office confirmed on Friday that the Hawks would petition the Supreme Court of Appeal directly after the High Court dismissed its application for leave to appeal an earlier finding, setting aside Booysen's suspension.

The embattled top cop, who is a key witness in several cases against politically connected suspects, was accused of fraudulently submitting a reward claim.

Eyewitness News has asked Ntlemeza to explain why he is pursuing the fraud case against Booysen, even after the High Court in Durban found there is no evidence to support it.

But Nhleko wouldn't let him explain.

"I've just asked general Ntlemeza not to respond to those questions precisely because I think that what we should be able to respect around legal issues is to observe the processes that are unfolding."

Nhleko suggested Judge Anton van Zyl made his findings without considering the facts.

"It is only through an established disciplinary process that we would know whether there's a case or not. Outside of that you can't just arbitrarily stand and say there's no case."

Booysen is scheduled to return to work today.