COURT-3RD-LD-DRAMAT

23 Jan 2015 15:37pm
NHLEKO TO BE GRILLED ABOUT DRAMAT: BARNARD Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko will have to explain the circumstances of the unlawful suspension of Hawks boss Anwa Dramat to Parliament's police portfolio committee, the DA said on Friday. "The minister is coming before the [parliamentary] police portfolio committee. He is coming on Thursday morning, at 9am," DA spokeswoman on police Dianne Kohler Barnard told reporters at the High Court in Pretoria. "He will now have to answer for what he did. He bulldozed his way through, shifting personnel and shunting people left right and centre. Frankly, I don't think he had the right to do that," she said. High Court Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled on Friday that Nhleko's decision to suspend Dramat was invalid, and set it aside. "The order which I make is the following: it is declared that the decision of the minister of police to suspend Lt-Gen Anwa Dramat, the national head of the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] is unlawful and invalid," Prinsloo ruled. "It is declared that the decision of the minister, appointing Maj-Gen Berning Ntlemeza as acting national head of the DPCI is unlawful and invalid. That decision is set aside," he said. Kohler Barnard said she hoped several other decisions by Nhleko would also be reversed. "I hope the minister has learnt his lesson," she said. The DA expected that Dramat would be back at work on Friday. "There were blustering comments made by representatives of the police, saying even if the court rules [in Dramat's favour] that doesn't mean he can go back to work. That is utter rot. "The ruling is that someone in his position is unlawful. He must go back to work immediately. In fact, I expect him back in his office this afternoon," said Kohler Barnard. The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) approached the court, asking it to set aside Nhleko's decision to suspend Dramat and the subsequent appointment of Ntlemeza. Dramat was suspended on December 23, pending a probe into his alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of four Zimbabweans in November 2010. HSF director Francis Antonie said his organisation was "overjoyed" about the court's ruling. "Our hope is that the Hawks will now have sufficient confidence to carry on their work in fighting corruption. That is what we need in this country," said Antonie. He said that if Nhleko appealed the court ruling, the HSF would take him on again. "I think Mr Dramat must go back to work on Monday morning. It's rather late in the day now and we know that nobody works in Cape Town on Friday afternoon," Antonie said. Nhleko's spokesman Musa Zondi said Dramat would not be stopped from returning to work. "He will go back to work today. That is what will happen. Why would we [stop him]? This is a constitutional democracy. "We are going to look at the judgment in full, and see what other avenues are there. On the basis of the facts the minister had, he still believes his was the right decision. We will look and take it from there." Sapa /jm/cls/fg