Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza has given Police Minister Fikile Mbalula an ultimatum to stop interfering in his duties or face being hauled off to court.
While Mbalula has reiterated that Ntlemeza is no longer head of the Hawks, Ntlemeza insists he is still the boss.
The minister appointed an acting head of the unit a week ago following a court order which found the lieutenant general was not fit to hold the post but he is appealing that decision.
Ntlemeza’s attorney Comfort Ngidi has relied on the section of the superior courts act which deals with court enforcement orders.
“You then have an automatic right of appeal and as soon as you file for an appeal, which we’ve done in Bloemfontein, automatically suspended the decision of the High Court, pending the appeal.”
In the meantime, Ngidi says Ntlemeza will exercise his rights not to have Mbalula interfere in his duties.
“Failing which, we have been instructed to approach the appropriate court to enforce the rights of the employee.”
Ngidi says they will approach the court on Tuesday if Mbalula fails to provide the undertaking.
Ngidi said his client has returned the car and phone he took from the Hawks.
He said an appeal has been lodged and therefore Ntlemeza is still in his position.
“As soon as you file for an appeal which we have done in Bloemfontein on Friday, I hear the minister saying we didn’t but we did. I’d challenge anybody to go and see that we’ve filed our appeal.”
Ngidi said the law must be respected.
“Automatically suspended the decision of the High Court pending the appeal. What we’ve said is that the minister, in our view, is pretty immature until the appeal is heard."
Mbalula said Ntlemeza is wrongfully sending a message to the public that there is lawlessness within the Hawks and it won’t be tolerated.
The minister considers the former top cop’s attempt to report for duty on Monday morning as unlawful.
Mbalula said he will not be distracted by this issue.
“There is no lawlessness, we are not going to allow a state lawlessness. General Ntlemeza is basically trying to communicate the wrong message that there is confusion, lawlessness and that anybody can do as they please – that cannot happen. We are focused and we are at work, that’s what is important.”