Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza is now officially the new head of the Hawks.
Ntlemeza has been acting in the position since December, following the controversial suspension and resignation of General Anwa Dramat from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.
Making the announcement on Thursday, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko gave a breakdown of Ntlemeza’s 34 years in the service and said time and again they had been faulted for not appointing career policemen and women into these positions.
“I have no doubt that Gen Ntlemeza will continue the good work that the Hawks have become famous for and help government in fighting serious organised crime and corruption.”
He said Ntlemeza had been selected from five candidates and the interview panel had included three ministers, one deputy as well as human resources.
Addressing journalists in Parliament on Thursday, Nhleko said Ntlemeza had already done a lot to improve the Hawks, including creating a strategic plan for the entity, which he had already presented.
On comments made by Judge Elias Matojane accusing Ntlemeza of lying under oath in March this year and being dishonest, and lacking integrity and honour, Nhleko said they were just comments and they did not know what triggered them.
In a brief memorandum to the interview panel before his appointment, Ntlemeza raised the issue of the judges’ comments, saying he had not been given the opportunity to respond to the accusations.
In the memorandum, he assures the panel that he is fit for the job.
Asked why he is the best candidate for the job, Ntlemeza said if detectives across the country would be rated, he would come out at the top as number one or two and said he had trained a number of highly successful investigators.
Ntlemeza thanked the minister and Cabinet for showing confidence in the DPCI and appointing him.
“Over the past months as the acting head of the Hawks, I have taken it upon my shoulders to ensure that the DPCI is steered in the right direction towards the fight against crime. To contribute towards a safe and secure environment for all inhabitants of the country.”
He pledged to keep fighting crime, as it was in his “blood”.