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‘Ntlemeza could cause irreparable harm to the Hawks’

The Helen Suzman Foundation wants the Hawks boss removed from his position because he lied under oath.

FILE. A YouTube screengrab of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza.

PRETORIA - The Helen Suzman Foundation's legal team has argued that if Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza remains in his position, he could cause irreparable harm to the crime fighting unit.

This was heard in the High Court in Pretoria yesterday where the foundation applied to have the decision to appoint Ntlemeza set aside.

It has based its case on findings last year that the Hawks boss lied under oath and lacked integrity.

Judgment has been reserved.

The foundation's Francis Antonie says Ntlemeza is not a fit and proper candidate to lead the Hawks.

"The judge has already ruled once or twice, so clearly this man is unfit for public office. He lies under oath. What sort of people lie under oath? We don't want him in public office."

Advocate Pule Seleka referred the court to evidence which showed that since his appointment Ntlemeza has restructured the Hawks and filled hundreds of vacant posts.

He added that the matter is not urgent and the application should have been brought in March last year when the court made the adverse findings against his client.

At the same time, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's legal team has described the adverse court findings against Ntlemeza as 'judicial excess'.

Advocate William Mokhari said judges should be mindful when making scathing findings against people because they are binding and impact on their dignity.

He said Judge Elias Matojane's findings against the Hawks head emanate from his anger caused by Ntlemeza's allegations that the judge had met with the opposing counsel in chambers.

He said Matojane never afforded Ntlemeza an opportunity to address the court on the issues which informed the adverse findings.

In spite of the ruling, Mokhari referred to case law which allowed the minister to accept an explanation from Ntlemeza and not reach conclusions on his propriety solely on the judgment.