Mdluli interdicted from doing police work

By Drum Digital
06 June 2012

Suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli was on Wednesday interdicted from performing any duties as a police official pending an application to reinstate criminal and disciplinary charges against him.

Judge Ephraim Makgoba granted an urgent interim interdict to Freedom Under Law (FUL) in terms of which the National Police Commissioner and Minister of Police were also interdicted from assigning any function or duty to Mdluli.

This was pending the determination of FUL's application to set aside decisions to withdraw criminal charges ranging from murder and defeating the ends of justice to fraud, corruption and money laundering as well as disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli.

FUL will also seek a court order to force the National Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit to reinstate all criminal charges against Mdluli and the police commissioner to reinstate the disciplinary charges.

The Judge said it would be unconscionable for Mdluli to continue with his duties with those allegations still looming against him.

He said he could not lose sight of the serious nature of the allegations against Mdluli and the public interest that had been displayed in the proceedings.

"In my view this matter is of considerable public importance.

"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," he said.

Judge Makgoba said the criminal charges were the product of intensive investigations by an investigative team which compiled a report and several affidavits explaining the factual bases of the charges.

Mdluli was suspended for the first time in November last year as a result of the serious criminal charges, but was reinstated in March this year after the charges and disciplinary proceedings were withdrawn.

Mdluli thereafter made serious allegations of conspiracy against other senior members of the police, resulting in the Minister of Police announcing in Parliament that Mdluli would be-redeployed pending investigation into the allegations by a ministerial task team.

Acting National Police Commissioner Lt.Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi thereafter suspended Mdluli again.

Mdluli obtained an order for his reinstatement in the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Friday, but the same court overturned the decision on Sunday.

The matter will be back in the Labour Court in June 21.

Mdluli and the police commissioner argued that FUL's application was not urgent as Mdluli had already been suspended, but Judge Makgoba said this argument missed the point of the application.

He said FUL was not seeking an order to suspend Mdluli, but to prevent him from working with the view to preserve the integrity of the investigations into the allegations against him and the functioning of the SAPS.

"It is common cause that Mdluli has been suspended before, also pending disciplinary proceedings and that this suspension was lifted without the disciplinary proceedings being finalised.

"On what basis should the applicant believe or trust that this time around the present suspension will not be uplifted?

"It is unfortunate that there have been allegations of political interference in the process, which allegations the Acting National Police Commissioner has not disputed," he said.

The Judge said FUL's argument that Mdluli's suspension might be lifted again whilst questions raised by the application remained unsolved was not farfetched.

Judge Makgoba stressed that the decisions FUL sought to review impacted on the ability of the police as an organisation to carry out its objectives as set out in the Constitution.

"Every South African has a right to vindicate the ability of the police service to fulfil those objectives.

"The continuing public controversy and its effect on the integrity of the SAPS and its ability to fulfil the constitutional mandate, coupled with the risk that Mdluli may at any time be permitted to resume his duties are sufficient to found a reasonable apprehension of irreparable harm," the Judge said.

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