DA: 'Teflon man' Mdluli should be suspended
The Democratic Alliance has called the move of police crime intelligence unit head Richard Mdluli as “a deckchair shifted on the Titanic”.
DA spokesperson for the police Dianne Kohler Barnard told the Mail & Guardian that Mdluli being shifted to a different department means they aren’t dealing with the issue. “Any SAPS member with one of the shopping cart of allegations would be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.
“But not Mdluli, he’s the Teflon man,” she said.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced on Wednesday that Mdluli is to be “shifted” from his position immediately.
Mdluli would be moved to another position as determined by acting national commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, he told the National Assembly during debate on his budget vote.
Mthethwa said he had noted the “recent utterances, public discussions, and at times misrepresentation and misunderstanding” of SAPS processes by some in society, particularly in relation to the crucial crime intelligence division.
Allegations of mismanagement of funds and nepotism had been levelled against Mdluli.
Inspector General of Intelligence Faith Radebe had oversight of crime intelligence’s financial management. “As part of her mandate, she is further able to look into any other issue that may arise in the course of this investigation. And contrary to what the media is saying, this investigation is still in process. We are not going to be subjected to any public, analysts’ or media courts,” Mthethwa said.
There had been public accusations and counter-accusations within SAPS management.
What seemed to have sparked this off was a widely-reported letter (PDF), which Mdluli was reported to have written to, among others, Mthethwa as police minister.
“This letter seems to have political connotations and has caused tensions within the management of the SAPS.
“It alludes to some conspiracy theory, of some in management ganging up against him. I have instituted a task team, led by the state law adviser to investigate such allegations, because they are so serious as to suggest the meddling of policing functions in politics.”
While this probe was underway, he had, in consultation with the acting national commissioner, decided that Mdluli should be shifted from his position “with effect today” [Wednesday], as the head of crime intelligence and moved to another division, as determined by Mkhwanazi.
Mdluli had been informed of the decision and had pledged his support for the process.
“We shall therefore allow and observe this process to be carried through without any undue interference,” Mthethwa said.
On the allegations surrounding the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks) in Gauteng in relation to the renditions involving Zimbabwean nationals, Mthethwa said he had immediately sought clarity from the head of the Hawks on the validity of the allegations.
Subsequently, the civilian secretariat for police had almost completed a preliminary report. “The preliminary report suggests that this matter will require further action. We will keep the public informed once the final investigation has been completed.”
Mthethwa also referred to the allegations on murders and tortures by the Hawks team in Cato Manor, KwaZulu-Natal.
“Any allegations, on any day, surrounding murders and torture by police officers is a matter that cannot be ignored, hence we had tasked those who police the police, that is, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, together with the team from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation National Office, to investigate the allegations.
“We further make a call to some political commentators, including political parties and the media, to be objective as they exercise their oversight function on the SAPS.
“You cannot raise issues around certain SAPS members but try to excuse others when it suits you; [therefore] we treat this matter and allegations as extremely serious,” Mthethwa said.
Mdluli was suspended from his crime intelligence chief position after he appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court in February 2011, facing murder charges relating to the 1999 death of Oupa Ramogibe — an ex-lover’s husband.
This was followed by Mdluli’s arrest in September 2011 on fraud and corruption charges alleging that he had raided a police intelligence funds for personal use.
In December last year the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli, pending the outcome of an inquest into Ramogibe’s murder in February 2012, to ascertain the merits of the case against him.
Mdluli was reinstated as crime intelligence chief on March 27 this year. At the time Mdluli said the charges were part of a political conspiracy by allies of former president Thabo Mbeki who were trying to take over police intelligence ahead of the 2012 ANC conference in Mangaung.— Sapa