Controversial former crime intelligence boss Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli has been suspended, the office of acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said on Sunday.
“The notice of suspension of General Mdluli has been served on General Mdluli’s lawyer,” said Mkhwanazi’s spokesperson Lindela Mashigo.
Mashigo said the suspension related to allegations that had emerged from the ongoing court inquest into the murder of Mdluli’s former lover’s husband Oupa Ramogibe in 1999.
Last year, Mdluli faced fraud and corruption charges relating to alleged misuse of a crime intelligence fund, the purchase of luxury vehicles and the hiring of family members.
He was suspended but both sets of charges were withdrawn and Mdluli was reinstated as head of crime intelligence in March this year.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa then announced on May 9 that Mdluli would be moved from crime intelligence to a position in the office of the deputy national police commissioner for operations, Fannie Masemola.
A few days later non-profit organisation Freedom Under Law (FUL) applied for a urgent interdict to prevent Mdluli from serving in the police service.
FUL also applied for an interdict against Mthethwa, preventing him from moving Mdluli to a new position before a review into his reinstatement could be heard.
On Sunday Mashigo said the national commissioner took the step of suspending in response to the serious allegations that had emerged from the inquest.
“He is not responding to any pressure. He had already served the notices of intention to suspend on General Mdluli and General Solly Lazarus when a day or two later Freedom Under Law approached the court,” he said.
Major-General Solly Lazarus was head of finance for the Crime Intelligence Unit.
Mashigo said Mdluli was given seven days to give reasons why he should not be suspended but failed to respond to the notice.
“From [Lieutenant] General Mdluli we received nothing,” he said.
Mashigo said the police did not want to comment on the allegations made durning the inquest as the process was ongoing.
Mashigo told the Mail & Guardian on Sunday morning that the suspension notice had been delivered to Mdluli’s lawyers.
“The SAPS tried to track down Lieutenant-General Mdluli to hand over the document personally, however this proved unsuccessful,” said Mashigo. – Sapa and Staff reporter