Lobby group Freedom under Law won its court application on Wednesday at the North Gauteng High Court to have suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli interdicted from performing any official police duties – pending the outcome of a full high court review of the decisions that led to his reinstatement to crime intelligence.
Judge Ephraim Makgoba ruled that FUL had presented a strong case.
In his judgment, he said: “In my view this matter is of considerable public importance and the sooner this saga is brought to an end the sooner the credibility of the police, security service and the justice system as a whole can be restored.
“The allegations against [Mdluli] are no ordinary allegations of misconduct. Murder, defeating the ends of justice, fraud and money laundering are serious criminal acts, which go to the fabric of public order and security.”
Makgoba ruled that Mdluli and the South African Police Service must pay the costs of the interim application.
Makgoba added: “The continuing public controversy and its effect on the integrity of the SAPS and its ability to fulfil the constitutional mandates, coupled with the risk that [Mdluli] may at any time be permitted to resume his duties are sufficient to find a reasonable apprehension of irreparable harm.”
Last month Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa acted to diffuse pressure by announcing that Mdluli would be temporarily transferred from crime intelligence while a ministerial task team investigated claims that there was a conspiracy against him by other senior police generals.
Over the next few weeks “a game of ping-pong” ensued, which saw acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi requesting Mdluli to give him reasons as to why he should not be suspended – three days before FUL launched its current court application.
A week later, Mdluli was suspended.
This was followed by an urgent application brought by Mdluli to have his suspension lifted by the Johannesburg Labour Court – which was granted.
But on Sunday the labour court rescinded Friday’s decision, ordering that Mdluli’s suspension be lifted.
Mdluli’s challenge against his second suspension is now set to be heard at the Johannesburg Labour Court on June 21.