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'Ntlemeza won't be missed'

The South African Police Union has joined the Helen Suzeman Foundation and Freedom Under Law in welcoming Berning Ntlemeza's sudden retirement.

FILE: YouTube screengrab of former head of the Hawks Major General Berning Ntlemeza.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Police Union (Sapu) says former top cop Berning Ntlemeza won't be missed in law enforcement.

It has joined the Helen Suzeman Foundation and Freedom Under Law in welcoming Ntlemeza's sudden retirement.

He lost his latest bid to hang onto his job as head of the Hawks on Tuesday after he was found to be neither fit nor proper for the post.

Sapu's Oscar Skommere said: “We think the minister got it right. Remember the then police minister [Nathi] Nhleko decided to defend the issue of Ntlemeza in court, but when [the now Police Minister Fikile] Mbalula analysed the issue and got advice, he released that Ntlemeza is not the right person.”

The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Ntlemeza’s application for leave to appeal because there’s neither reasonable prospect of success nor any other compelling reason why the appeal should be heard.

The police ministry says the effect of this order is that Ntlemeza’s employment contract has been set aside and is treated as if it never existed.

In terms of the law, the retirement age of a police officer is 60-years-old.

Ntlemeza is 61.

However, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says that he’s ordered that Ntlemeza’s retirement be processed immediately.

He says that Ntlemeza will be considered as leaving the service at the rank of major-general, not as the lieutenant-general he was promoted to as head of the Hawks.

Additional reporting Barry Bateman.