Former KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen. Picture: THE SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL
Former KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen. Picture: THE SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL

Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen says “all hell broke loose” within the crime-fighting unit when Berning Ntlemeza took over.

Testifying at the state-capture inquiry on Friday, Booysen pulled no punches when he described various incidents in which he believed Ntlemeza’s conduct was questionable. 

Ntlemeza was appointed in an acting capacity at the Hawks in December 2014 after Anwa Dramat was suspended.

“For lack of a better word, when [Ntlemeza] was appointed, all hell broke loose within the [Hawks]. I cannot describe it any other way,” Booysen told the inquiry.

Booysen said he got a call from Ntlemeza on new year’s eve that year, days after he was appointed, and was  summoned to the police’s provincial offices in Durban the next day.

“It was the first time in my police career that I had been summoned to a meeting on the morning of new year’s day … On my arrival I called to ask him where he was and he told me he was on the 17th floor with the provincial commissioner,” Booysen said.

At the time, KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni was one of the main suspects in a Hawks investigation into alleged corruption in the 2010 World Cup police accommodation scandal involving Durban businessman Thoshan Panday.

Booysen said he waited in another office while Ntlemeza finished his meeting with Ngobeni.

“After about 15 minutes, Ntlemeza joined me in the office and asked me what my equity profile looked like. He complained that I had too many Indians [in the Hawks]. He said he needed a report from me about, inter alia, my equity profile and investigations we were busy with,” Booysen said.

“In my opinion, that was just a ruse to come to KwaZulu-Natal, because what is he doing talking to a suspect in my criminal investigation? He spends time with a suspect in a criminal investigation then he tries to make me believe he is there to look at my equity profile.”

Booysen mentioned a second instance in which Ntlemeza allegedly traveled to Cape Town to meet Col Kobus Roelofse, who, at the time, was investigating the looting of Crime Intelligence’s secret service account.

“He indirectly intimidated Roelofse and later he took the investigation away from him,” Booysen alleged.

His testimony continues.