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Mbalula: Phahlane must enforce law against Ntlemeza or face consequences

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula reiterated that Berning Ntlemeza is no longer head of the Hawks following a High Court order which found he is not fit for the post.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula leaves a media briefing at the Hawks head office in Pretoria where embattled head Berning Ntlemeza defied a court order and reported for duty on 24 April 2017. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

PRETORIA – Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane of serious consequences if he fails to act against former Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza.

The minister has accused Ntlemeza of unlawfully taking possession of a state vehicle when he tried to report for duty at the unit’s head offices on Monday, the car was later returned to the offices.

Mbalula reiterated that Ntlemeza is no longer head of the unit following a High Court order which found he is not fit for the post.

While Ntlemeza has returned the car he allegedly took unlawfully from the Hawks, Mbalula made it clear to Phahlane that his duty was to uphold the law.

"I have explained in no uncertain terms to General Phahlane the implications of him failing to act on General Ntlemeza, whether they're friends or not friends, the law must be enforced."

Ntlemeza’s lawyer Comfort Ngidi has relied on legislation which has suspended the enforcement of the court order which out his client out work.

He says if Mbalulu continues to interfere in Ntlemeza’s duties, they will approach the courts for relief.

WATCH: Cowboys & Crooks? 'Ntlemeza showed us the finger'

NTLEMEZA RETURNS CAR AND CELLPHONE

Ngidi said his client has returned the car and phone he took from the Hawks.

He said an appeal has been lodged and therefore Ntlemeza is still in his position.

“As soon as you file for an appeal which we have done in Bloemfontein on Friday. I hear the minister saying we didn’t but we did. I’d challenge anybody to go and see that we’ve filed our appeal.”

Ngidi said the law must be respected.

“Automatically suspended the decision of the High Court pending the appeal. What we’ve said is that the minister, in our view, is pretty immature until the appeal is heard."

Mbalula said Ntlemeza is wrongfully sending a message to the public that there is lawlessness within the Hawks and it won’t be tolerated.

The minister considers the former top cop’s attempt to report for duty on Monday morning as unlawful.

Mbalula said he will not be distracted by this issue.

“There is no lawlessness, we are not going to allow a state lawlessness. General Ntlemeza is basically trying to communicate the wrong message that there is confusion, lawlessness and that anybody can do as they please – that cannot happen. We are focused and we are at work, that’s what is important.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)