Crime unit shake-up backfires

2012-09-19 00:00

AN effort by the police to restructure and clean up its beleaguered crime intelligence unit has failed after 25 officers threatened to take the South African Police Service to the Labour Court.

The officers, many of whom are sympathisers or cronies of suspended crime intelligence boss Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli or former police commissioner Bheki Cele, have been reinstated in their original posts.

The reinstated officers were transferred four months ago to other units in a bid to clean up the unit following a national outcry, including from Parliament, of the mess in the unit under Mdluli’s watch.

After they were transferred, some of the posts were filled with new appointees. With their reinstatement, in some cases there are two group or department heads in crime intelligence (CI) — one a Mdluli appointment and the other loyal to the new management under the command of acting divisional commissioner Major-General Chris Ngcobo.

In May, crime intelligence officers in KZN and Gauteng were transferred to police stations around the country.

Among them, Media24 Investigations understands, were family members of controversial Durban millionaire and convicted drug dealer Panganathan “Timmy” Marimuthu.

Marimuthu, on the instructions of Mdluli, was appointed an agent in crime intelligence and paid R50 000 a month, according to court affidavits by officers investigating Mdluli. Marimuthu’s family members were also appointed in senior positions in crime intelligence, those statements say.

Marimuthu’s wife, Colonel Neermala Moodley, his daughter, Captain Shantal Redhi, and son-in-law, Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis Redhi, were in May transferred to Durban North police station. They are now back at crime intelligence.

Media24 Investigations has a letter, dated August 10, in which Ngcobo says the “process of reorganisation” of CI “is hereby revoked”.

Ngcobo — once a bodyguard of President Jacob Zuma — ordered all employees who were removed from posts where they were officially appointed, back to their previous positions.

The group of aggrieved officers was led by the former commander of crime intelligence in KwaZulu-Natal, Major-General Dina Moodley, who was transferred to Pinetown.

Four colonels and several captains were also moved. The aggrieved members claim the transfers were done without proper consultation and that they had been replaced by junior colleagues who were unfit and inexperienced to fill their posts.

Media24 Investigations is aware of one general and 11 colonels in Gauteng who were transferred and who are being reinstated.

The policemen are represented by the Police and Prisons Civil Unions (Popcru). Its chief negotiator, Stokky Ngwenya, confirmed this week that all the crime intelligence policemen who were transferred had been reinstated.

He said negotiations with police management were ongoing and that the matter was sub judice.

Family members of Mdluli who have been appointed in crime intelligence have been untouched by the transfers. Several of Mdluli’s closest allies remain in crime intelligence.

Foremost is Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba, who was in 2010 promoted by Mdluli from constable to colonel in one day. He was standing trial for torture at the time.

Ximba was arrested alongside Mdluli and two other policemen for allegedly killing Vosloosrus resident Oupa Ramogibe in 1999. Mdluli had an affair with Ramogibe’s wife and they also had a child. The charges have been provisionally withdrawn pending the outcome of an inquest that is being held in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court.

Ximba, described as a flamboyant policemen who wears a Breitling watch and drives a R400 000 sports car, is a group commander in crime intelligence, running a covert collections team that includes Mdluli’s daughter, Lieutenant-Colonel B.N. Mdluli.

• investigations@media24.com

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