Court sets aside lifting of Mdluli’s suspension

Mdluli had been granted an order lifting his suspension by the same court on Friday, despite the absence of South African Police Service’s (SAPS) lawyers in court.
Judge Andre van Niekerk on Sunday agreed with the urgency of SAPS’s application, considering its public importance, with it being in the interest of all parties that the matter be resolved as soon as possible.
In making his ruling, Van Niekerk said if the court had been aware of the facts, the order to lift Mdluli’s suspension on Friday would not have been granted.
The matter was initially scheduled to be heard on Monday but Mdluli’s legal representation had the matter brought forward to Friday.
The state’s attorney believed documents received notifying them of the change of date – two hours before the Friday hearing – related to documents received on Thursday for Monday’s scheduled court appearance.
The reason Mdluli’s application on Friday was not opposed was due to the state being unaware it was taking place, said Van Niekerk.
‘Series of events’
There was no basis to conclude the state attorney was at fault, and he had in fact handled the matter with diligence, the judge said.
Mdluli had also changed legal counsel, but still had two representatives on record.
“A series of events construed to the granting of the order,” said Van Niekerk.
He described Mdluli’s opposition to the SAPS’s application as bordering on “vexatious,” and ordered Mdluli to also pay costs.
In court papers, attorney William Mokhari SC arguing for acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi on Saturday, said Friday’s order was secured under circumstances which were grossly irregular.
He questioned how the court could have ruled on the matter when the case had been set down for June 4.
Mokhari said all parties involved in the case were informed on Thursday afternoon that it would only be heard on Monday.
Sunday’s ruling was a victory for the police, Brigadier Lindela Mashigo said.
“It is vivid, it is clear the general [Mdluli] did not follow court rules … We are glad with the outcome of today. Justice has been served.”
He said Mkhwanazi had been notified of the ruling and would be content with the result.
The SAPS expected to hear from Mdluli’s legal representatives soon, with Monday’s hearing now expected to be rescheduled, and Mdluli again suspended.
Mdluli was suspended for the second time on May 27 by Mkhwanazi.
Last year, Mdluli faced fraud and corruption charges relating to the misuse of a secret crime intelligence fund to buy luxury vehicles, and to hire family members.
He also faced a murder charge for the death of his former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe. The charges led to his initial suspension.
This year, all the charges were withdrawn and Mdluli was reinstated in March. This was widely criticised by, among others, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and lobby group Freedom Under Law.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa later moved Mdluli to a different division but Mkhwanazi subsequently opted to suspend him.
‘Common sense’
Meanwhile, the DA has called the ruling a victory for common sense.
“The attempt by Mdluli and his legal representatives to undermine and abuse the judiciary has been stopped in its tracks,” DA police spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement on Sunday.
“Mdluli should be kept as far away as possible from the South African Police Service offices until he has answered all the allegations against him,” she said.
Kohler Barnard said the sooner the questions surrounding Mdluli were answered, the sooner the credibility of the police and crime intelligence could be restored. – Sapa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Guest Author

Coalition politics and law: The fight over Tshwane

With coalition politics on the rise, particularly in local government, this kind of court case is likely to become more common

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday