South Africa minister to appeal court order against head of elite police unit - report

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JOHANNESBURG, March 20 (Reuters) - South Africa's police
minister will fight a court order to remove the head of an elite
police investigation unit, popularly known as the Hawks, after
the court ruled his appointment unlawful, media said on Monday.
    Berning Ntlemeza was appointed in 2015 to lead the powerful
Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, but two domestic
non-government bodies, Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman
Foundation, applied to the High Court to have Ntlemeza removed
on the grounds that he was unfit for the office. [nL5N1GU1I4]
    Sandile Ngidi, a spokesman for Police Minister Nathi Nhleko,
said Nhleko was appealing against Friday's ruling, eNCA
television reported. Ntlemeza will stay on while the appeal was
processed, the report added.
    Reuters could not immediately reach Ngidi for comment.
    The integrity of the Hawks has been called into question by
domestic media and NGOs, over the unit's role in a graft case
against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, which critics say was
part of a political agenda.
    Charges in that case were withdrawn last year.[nL5N1GG3Q0]

 (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Clarence
 ((; +27 11 775 3159; Reuters


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