Lizeka Tandwa, News24
Fikile Mbalula (File, Netwerk24)
This was the fiery warning from Police Minister Fikile Mbalula at a press conference on Wednesday.
Mbalula was briefing the media on his strategic plan to wage war against crime.
But it was questions on former hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza that stirred the minister’s anger.
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On Monday, Ntlemeza reported for duty, despite a High Court ruling that his appointment was invalid and should be set aside. He left with a state-issued car and cellphone. Mbalula threatened to issue an arrest warrant, and Ntlemeza later returned the car.
On Tuesday, Mbalula told reporters that there were certain Hawks officials meeting in safe houses with Ntlemeza to plot against him.
“I’m aware about operations, working in safe houses to undertake an operation on the minister of police. I’m aware and I’m coming for them,” he said.
Rogue Hawks elements
An impassioned Mbalula warned these rogue Hawks elements that he would not allow resources to be invested in illegal operations.
“I am going to act. I’m not going to allow rogueness to happen in this country, willy nilly,” he said.
He said Ntlemeza’s legal counsels were “voodoo lawyers” who used provocative language to manipulate the media.
“If he thinks he is entitled to come to work, tell him to come now. He will not see me, but he will see me in terms of the law. I’m very clear about it. There is no beef between us… We must respect the law.”
Mbalula said he would not allow Ntlemeza to blackmail him, and that only the African National Congress could stop him from exercising his mandate.
“A smart cop acts quietly, not through press conferences… I owe Ntlemeza nothing. He never did me any favours. I’ve served this country. I’ve served my organisation to the best of my ability. It’s only the ANC that can tell me you are now out of line… I owe no policeman a favour. I’m here to work with them and, if possible, let’s play golf.”
He said he would wait for the courts before making any decisions against acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, who is under investigation for his lavish lifestyle.
Mbalula, however, said that it was concerning that so much scandal surrounded a high ranking police official.
“The minister will not defend any wrongdoing. Once evidence has been tested and found that there is authenticity, the minister will not defend any wrongdoing by whoever is in the police service. It is worrisome when one of our own at the helm of the police is receiving such accusations. We must follow the law,” he said.