General fights to keep job and wants Mbalula to stop ridiculing him
Police General Berning Ntlemeza is seeking a restraining order against Police Minister Fikile Mbalula whom he accuses of interfering with his job as Hawks head. Ntlemeza will also ask the North Gauteng High Court to stop Mbalula from embarrassing‚ humiliating and ridiculing him in public.
eNCA journalist Karyn Maughan tweeted copies of Ntlemeza’s court papers late yesterday, in which he argues that a court does not have the jurisdiction to remove him as head of the Hawks.
Mbalula and Ntlemeza have been engaged in what appears to be a Mexican standoff over the past two days.
The police minister is adamant that Ntlemeza is not allowed to return to work and has already replaced him.
Speaking at the SAPS training academy in Pretoria yesterday‚ he lashed out at “rogue elements” in the police who were still loyal to the defiant general.
Mbalula demanded the general immediately return a state-owned car and cellphone.
“There is a new sheriff in town‚” he warned, but said that he was not at war with anybody.
“If General Ntlemeza is not going to return state property peacefully‚ we will retrieve it forcefully by law from him,” Mbalula said.
“If it means I must send the task force or the intervention unit because he is armed and dangerous‚ I will do it‚ because the law permits me to.”
Ntlemeza’s legal representative, Comfort Ngidi, said earlier in the day: “We have finalised papers to force the minister to retract what he is saying. What he is doing is unlawful.”
Earlier, Mbalula told police to “shoot to kill” if they came under fire from criminals, and reiterated his warning to criminals that police would meet fire with fire.
“Police must be ruthless against those who are armed,” he said.
“But what I am saying is, if they are shooting at you‚ you shoot back.
“Shoot to kill‚” he said.
The SAPS would escalate the war against crime, Mbalula said.
The police were developing a policy which would act as a guideline for officers on when to use force.
“We will meet fire with fire,” he said. “We will shoot to protect the innocent‚ we will shoot to protect ourselves and members of the force,” he said.
As part of the strategic planning under his leadership, he wanted to ensure the demilitarisation of the police, he said.
Specialised units such as the public order policing and tactical response units would receive the necessary training to address perceptions that they were militarised.
“The TRT will be used to deal with dangerous criminals. We will meet them head on in terms of our specialised units‚” Mbalula said.
“Criminals can run‚ but we will find them. They must not mix with ordinary members of the community.” -Additional reporting by Jan Bornman