Hawks fail in appeal to have Booysen suspended

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FILE image of then-Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit head Major-General Johan Booysen, leaving the Durban Magistrate's court on August 24, 2012 in Durban.

DURBAN – A bid by South Africa’s specialised crime-fighting unit, the Hawks, to challenge a ruling that overturned the suspension of its KwaZulu-Natal head, Major-General Johan Booysen, has failed.

Judge Anton van Zyl ruled in the Durban High Court on Wednesday that there was no prospect of a successful appeal against his November 18 ruling that overturned a decision to suspend Booysen amid allegations of fraud.

William Mokhari SC, for the Hawks, had argued that Van Zyl did not have the right to hear the matter because it was a labour dispute and that national Hawks boss Major-General Berning Ntlemeza was within his rights to suspend Booysen.

But Gardner van Niekerk SC, for Booysen, argued that the court had been right to hear the matter as Booysen’s constitutional right to be employed had been infringed.

Shortly after Ntlemeza was appointed national head of the Hawks in 2015 he suspended Booysen on September 14.

Booysen was suspended amid allegations of fraud amounting to more than R15,000 – an allegation that he has consistently denied.

Van Zyl dismissed Wednesday’s application with costs, saying: “There are no reasonable prospects for success.”

He also ordered that the state bear the costs of the application.

The only course of action left for the Hawks is to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to hear an appeal.

Booysen said afterwards that he was happy with the decision and had expected it to be in his favour.

Last week, Ntlemeza appointed a new KwaZulu-Natal head of the Hawks, officially known as the Directorate for Priority Crime Intervention.

Asked whether this would be a problem, Booysen said: “I don’t think it’s a problem for me. It’s a problem for them.”