South Africa court orders sacking of ‘dishonest’ police chief
A South African court on Friday ordered the dismissal of the head of the police’s elite unit, delivering another stinging ruling against President Jacob Zuma’s government.
Berning Ntlemeza was named as head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, commonly known as the Hawks, which handles serious corruption and organised crime.
But High Court Judge Peter Mabuse ruled that Ntlemeza’s appointment in 2015 was unlawful and must be “reviewed and set aside.”
The Hawks were not immediately available to comment on whether Ntlemeza would be sacked or if he would appeal the decision.
An earlier court judgement had found Ntlemeza to be “dishonest, lacking in integrity and dishonourable” after he tried to mislead the court.
But, despite that ruling, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko named him to the high-profile position two years ago.
“The minister failed… to appreciate the serious doubt on his unfitness and impropriety to hold the office,” said the ruling handed down in Pretoria on Friday.
It accused Nhleko of “completely ignoring and brushing aside remarks by a court”.
Friday’s case was brought by two civic rights organisations that questioned Ntlemeza’s suitability to hold office.
Zuma’s government has been hit by multiple scandals and court setbacks, while South African police have struggled with corrupt officers, lack of resources and a violent crime epidemic.
National police commissioner Riah Phiyega was suspended in 2015 over the Marikana massacre of miners in 2012, while her successor is being investigated for alleged graft.