Ntlemeza: I’m going to work tomorrow
Dismissed Hawks boss Mthandazo Ntlemeza has vowed to report for duty tomorrow to claim back the job Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has ejected him from, and will go to court should anyone stand in his way. This week, Ntlemeza’s lawyers wrote to the Office of the State Attorney reiterating their client’s position that he would resume his duties tomorrow. “We urge your good selves to advise [Mbalula] to allow [Ntlemeza] to resume duties as [head of the Hawks]. Our client reserves his right to approach a court for appropriate relief should he be obstructed from getting on to the premises and performing his official duties,” wrote Ntlemeza’s lawyer, Comfort Ngidi. Ngidi’s letter was a response to a letter from the State Attorney, acting for Mbalula, in which the minister’s decision for firing Ntlemeza was emphasised and Ntlemeza was told to stay away. Ntlemeza’s lawyers argue that he had the legal right to remain in office pending an appeal of the judgment setting aside their client’s appointment as unlawful. The lawyers on Friday submitted Ntlemeza’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). Attached to the application is a 69-page affidavit by Ntlemeza through which he hopes the court will find enough reasons to grant him leave to appeal last month’s judgment setting aside his appointment, which led to his axing two weeks ago. Ntlemeza explains in his affidavit that his woes emanate from a legal wrangle with former Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya, whom he had suspended before he was permanently appointed. Sibiya successfully challenged his suspension. The court found Ntlemeza had lied under oath and was “dishonest”, but thereafter, former police minister Nathi Nhleko permanently appointed him as head of the Hawks, prompting the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law to approach the courts seeking his removal from office.
In his affidavit, Ntlemeza says he made his interview panel aware of the court judgments, and that the court “did not state in what respect the decision by the minister could have been different if the judgments were placed before the interview panel”.
Ntlemeza’s last hope is for the SCA to grant him leave to appeal the judgement that set his appointment aside, and if he wins, he could use this to reverse Mbalula’s decision to fire him.
Ntlemeza ends his affidavit with what reads like a desperate personal appeal.
“My career as a policeman is in the hands of this honourable court. I have served my country faithfully, patriotically and with distinction for a period of more than 35 years. The decision of the court has been a devastating blow, not only to me and my family, but also the country as a whole,” Ntlemeza writes.
“I now find myself inadequated with low self-esteem and perpetual blemish.”
He added that the “reputation I have built over the years without a blemish has now been shattered”.
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