The appointment of Prince Mokotedi as the head of the Hawks in Gauteng is yet another blow to the credibility and integrity of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (aka: Hawks), the criminal justice system as a whole and is completely irrational. The DA will write to the Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, to compel him to reconsider his decision urgently.
This latest decision is further evidence that the Hawks have been compromised by political interference. It is abundantly clear that positions at the Hawks are given to settle political IOUs rather than to individuals who have integrity and are fit and proper to carry out the vital mandate of the Hawks as the apex corruption-busting unit.
Section 17CA (6) of the South African Police Service Act requires that a provincial head of the Hawks be a fit and proper person.
Yet Mr Mokotedi’s dubious history does not inspire confidence in his ability to carry out a job which requires integrity. He narrowly avoided disciplinary action by resigning as the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s Integrity Unit in 2014 after he was charged with gross insubordination and bringing the NPA into disrepute.
The DA have long held that the Hawks’ effectiveness in fighting corruption has been compromised by political interference. A reply to a DA parliamentary question in October last year revealed that since the disbandment of the Scorpions in January 2009, there has been a 60% decline in arrests and an astounding 83% plummet in conviction rates in the last six years of the Hawks’ existence.
Irrational political appointments and suspensions have characterised the Hawks. The appointment of Hawks head, Berning Ntlemeza, was unconstitutional because of the suspension of his predecessor, Anwa Dramat, was unconstitutional by its very nature. The appointment of Ntlemeza is born from fatal errors in law and due process.
Both the North Gauteng High Court and the Constitutional Court declared that the Police Minister’s decision to suspend Dramat was “unlawful”, “invalid” and must be “set aside”. The Courts stated that the same was true for the appointment of Ntlemeza.
In January 2014 the North Gauteng High Court slated the illegitimately installed Ntlemeza citing his suspension of Gauteng Hawks boss, Shadrack Sibiya, as unlawful, invalid and unconstitutional. This was after the North Gauteng High Court Judge Matonjane found that there was indeed no legal or factual basis for the suspension of Sibiya and that Ntlemeza acted “without any single shred of [prima facie] evidence.”
Judge Matonjane also called Ntlemeza “biased, dishonest and lacks integrity and honour.” “To further show he is dishonest he made false statements under oath.”
The litany of irrational appointments and unconstitutional suspensions is clear evidence that the Hawks are compromised by political interference. This also confirms that the disbandment of the Scorpions was fatally flawed in the first place.
The DA has called for the Hawks to be disbanded and the Scorpions reinstated to its rightful place in a strong and independent NPA as the key corruption-busting unit in our country.
The DA will continue to fight against poor appointments and for the re-establishment of an independent and effective corruption-fighting Scorpions for the sake of combatting corruption that costs our country an estimated R30 billion a year.