Ntlemeza's urgency argument fails to sway judge
Publish date: 19 May 2017
Issue Number: 4224
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Former Hawks boss Major-General Mthandazo Ntlemeza's application to interdict Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has been struck off the roll by Judge Sheila Mphahlele in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), who awarded costs to Mbalula. Mphahlele said the matter lacked urgency and that the interest of justice was more important than any reputational damage Ntlemeza might suffer from not being allowed to return to work pending his application to appeal the High Court ruling that his appointment was invalid at the SCA on 2 June. He is suspended on full pay and failed to show damages from not having a work car or phone, notes a News24 report. Ntlemeza's lawyers argued that his application to interdict Mbalula was urgent, as the Minister's actions were illegal and prevented Ntlemeza from returning to his duties. Nazeer Cassim, for Mbalula, argued that a full Bench had found that Ntlemeza was not fit to hold office, that this application was not urgent, and was tantamount to scoring political points. Advocate Nceba Duduka argued that the interdict sought to stop Mbalula acting illegally, saying every day Ntlemeza did not report for duty was another day that he was prejudiced and humiliated. With the SCA application to appeal just two weeks away, the urgency argument was unable to sway the judge.
Mbalula said ‘he has noted’ the judgment and said he had been vindicated. Last month Mbalula sacked Ntlemeza after the High Court found he was not a fit and proper person to lead the Hawks, because he lacked integrity and had lied under oath. ‘The effect of today's judgment and that of the 17th of March 2017 means that even if General Ntlemeza decides to appeal further, the order stands,’ said spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga, according to a report on the IoL site. ‘The Minister will study the judgment and comment fully at an appropriate stage.’ Meanwhile, the SA Policing Union, said it welcomed the ruling. ‘This progressive judgment comes as a relief to the many men and women of great integrity in the Hawks,’ said Sapu.