Newly appointed acting Hawks head Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata was part of a five-person panel that appointed her predecessor Berning Ntlemeza.
Matakata, along with former police minister Nathi Nhleko, Justice Minister Michael Masutha, Minister of State Security David Mahlobo and then deputy minister of police Maggie Sotyu, was part of the panel that decided Ntlemeza was the best candidate for the top job.
On Thursday new Police Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that Matakata would be taking over from Ntlemeza after the court ordered that his appointment be set aside.
Matakata was appointed the national deputy head of the Hawks in 2015, a promotion by her boss at the time, Ntlemeza.
The High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday denied Ntlemeza leave to appeal a judgment declaring his appointment unlawful and invalid and setting it aside. The court ordered him to vacate his office immediately.
In a memorandum sent by former Nhleko to Cabinet, dated August 2015, it is revealed that 23 candidates applied for the position.
Each of the applications received were scrutinised in a pre-selection process, with due consideration to the functions and requirements for the post as indicated in the advertisement.
At the time, Matakata held a position in the human resources department.
Ntlemeza appointed ‘on the basis of his strengths’
The selection committee conducted interviews with the shortlisted candidates.
Due to the nature of the position and the urgency to fill the post, the issue of the competency assessment was deemed superfluous considering the experience and track record of the preferred candidate.
The committee unanimously agreed to recommend the appointment of Ntlemeza “on the basis of the strengths he displayed”.
Police spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said Mbalula had followed the law in Matakata’s appointment.
“The law says whenever the office of the national head of the DPCI [Hawks] is vacant or if the head, for any reason, cannot take up the position, the minister shall appoint the deputy to be the acting national head. That is what the law instructs us to do.”
Matakata has held several crucial positions in the South African Police Service since her enlistment in 1995. She has reportedly worked in crime intelligence for 15 years and became the provincial head of the same division in the Western Cape in 2008.
She reportedly holds a bachelor’s degree in administration and was appointed the national deputy head of the Hawks in 2015.