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Dramat suspension “unconstitutional”: Barnard

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There has been widespread shock over the precautionary suspension of Hawks boss, Anwa Dramat, pending an investigation into allegations he oversaw the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean nationals in 2010. However, a lawyer for the crime head has suggested the suspension is down to his refusal to hand over certain case files to government, including that of investigations into senior ANC officials, as well as Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

Dramat’s suspension has been met by sharp criticism from certain sectors, including current DA Shadow Minister of Police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, who described the move as “flagrantly unconstitutional”. Speaking to VOC’s Drivetime, she said the suspension was an extraordinary act on the part of the Minister of Police, Nkosinathi Nhleko; one that clearly put him in contempt of court.

“The constitutional court judgment, just one month and a day ago, ruled that the minister may not suspend the head of the Hawks. Sections 17 DA 1 and 2 were determined to be invalid and unconstitutional, and they were deleted from the legislation that very day,” she said, further suggesting the move may have been some form of political ploy.

She suspected the suspension would pave the way for the minister to place an acting head in the position, who would be willing to make a number of decisions that Dramat had refused to do. Amongst this was his refusal to fire Hawks KZN boss, Johan Booysen, who she said was instrumental in conducting investigations into several ANC MECs.

“Many strange things are going on; it’s all going to go under the carpet now that they have made this bizarre move of removing General Dramat,” she said.

Barnard said the Constitutional Court, as well as all the judges who have ruled on the matter in the High Court prior to the Constitutional Court, had attempted to give the Hawks a modicum of independence. However, the suspension was a clear sign that government were determined to maintain some level of control over the elite crime fighting unit.

“The national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega, keeps on trying to fire Johan Booysen. He has now been cleared four times, twice by the Labor Court, once by the High Court, and absolutely by a SAPS disciplinary hearing,” she explained.

Amongst her biggest worries was that should Dramat be dismissed indefinitely, there was a possibility that former crime intelligence boss, Richard Mdluli, could potentially take the post.

“It’s been shown that he has looted the crime intelligence slush fund of so many millions. I don’t think he is irredeemable, but I keep sensing that actually he is the puppet master pulling the strings,” she said.

Several reports have suggested that Dramat has offered a deal to take an early retirement, in exchange for the suspension to be overturned. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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