We’ll give Ntlemeza a cell phone‚ says Mbalula’s lawyer
Graeme Hosken | 2017-05-17 12:47:41.0
Image by: Sunday Times
Fired Hawks boss lieutenant-general Berning Ntlemeza claims that if the High Court upholds his dismissal‚ it would be condoning illegal behaviour by police minister Fikile Mbalula.
Lawyers for Ntlemeza‚ whose axing was enforced by the High Court in Pretoria last month‚ argued earlier on Wednesday in the same court that their client had suffered immeasurable reputational harm and that he had been humiliated by what Mbalula had said about him in public when he announced his dismissal.
Ntlemeza has been found by several judges to be dishonourable and unfit to hold office in relation to lying under oath.
Ntlemeza is attempting to interdict Mbalula from firing him‚ pending the outcome of an appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. His appeal is to be heard on June 2.
Ntlemeza‚ who is still on full pay‚ has had to return all his work equipment‚ including cellphones and a state car‚ after his axing. His lawyer‚ Advocate Nceba Dukada‚ argued that the moment his client lodged an appeal‚ last month’s court order‚ which enforced his dismissal‚ had to be suspended.
“Ntlemeza must only prove he has filed an appeal. When he does this‚ the entire enforcement order is suspended. No matter what is said by a full bench‚ it all becomes irrelevant.”
He said that Mbalula had been acting illegally‚ “daily‚ hourly and every second of the day” by dismissing Ntlemeza.
“The rights of Ntlemeza have been violated daily since he lodged his appeal. Mbalula’s conduct must be stopped immediately‚” said Dukada.
“It will be a sad situation if the matter is struck off the roll and if this matter is not deemed by the court to be urgent.”
Mbalula’s lawyer‚ Advocate Nazeer Cassim‚ replied that Ntlemeza was lucky that he was still being paid‚ given that he had been found to be “not fit” to hold office by five judges and that he had been found to be dishonourable. He argued that public perception was a relevant concept.
“The public will be outraged if Ntlemeza‚ after being found unfit to hold office by several high court judges‚ is reinstated pending his appeal.”
He argued that Ntlemeza’s application was one of status‚ and that his defence counsel was not making a case.
“You must show that you are worthy of the office you hold. This application must fail on both public interest and urgency. On urgency it must fail because‚ as long the judgment stands‚ it has full effect until it is set aside‚” he added.
“If the real issue is a cellphone‚ my minister is not heartless and we can sort one out for him.”
Judge Sheila Mphahlele will hand down her judgment on Thursday.