Judgment reserved in Mdluli case

2012-06-21 16:44
Richard Mdluli (File, Sapa)

Richard Mdluli (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Labour Court has reserved judgment in an attempt by sidelined crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli to have his suspension lifted.

Judge Andre van Niekerk said he would make a ruling on Monday at 10:00.

Graham Moshoana, for Mdluli, argued on Thursday that his client had not been directly served with a notice of intention to suspend by Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola during a meeting between the two parties on May 15.

However, William Mokhari, for former acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkwanazi, said Mdluli was served with the notice at the two-hour meeting, and that he promised to sign it once he had met with his legal counsel on May 16.

"Why did Masemola agree [to Mdluli's alleged promise of signing later] if he knew the importance of signing [to prove service]?" asked Moshoana.

In his evidence, Masemola said he tried unsuccessfully to contact Mdluli on May 16 by phone and SMS.

Secret crime intelligence fund

Last year, Mdluli faced fraud and corruption charges relating to the misuse of a secret crime intelligence fund to buy luxury vehicles, and for hiring 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.

All the charges were withdrawn and Mdluli was reinstated in March.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa later moved Mdluli to a different division, but Mkhwanazi subsequently opted to suspend him again.

The Labour Court lifted the suspension on June 1, but less than 24-hours later the decision was overturned by the same court.

On Thursday, the court heard that Mdluli had handed in a sick note on May 16.

'Life threatening'

In an affidavit, Mdluli said his doctor had informed him that he suffered from stress and high blood pressure, and that his condition would be "life threatening" if he continued to work."

He said he learnt of the intention to suspend him through his previous lawyer on May 25.

Mokhari described Mdluli's version as "far-fetched" and said his right to be heard before his suspension was not an "absolute right".

"If the court cannot decide which version of events [on May 15] is true, the application must be dismissed."

He said the case should be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration or to the bargaining council because the suspension was not an unfair labour practice.

'A waste of time'

Mokhari further submitted that an interim order by the North Gauteng High Court against Mdluli had "thrown a spanner" into the case in the Labour Court.

Judge Ephraim Makgoba granted an urgent interim interdict to Freedom Under Law on June 6 to prevent Mdluli from performing any duties as a police official, pending an application to reinstate criminal and disciplinary charges against him.

"Any order contrary to that interim order cannot be enforced. This application has been overtaken by events. The applicants cannot reinvent the wheel," Mokhari said.

He said the Labour Court application was now "a waste of time".

Moshoana argued that both parties to the Labour Court case had opposed the High Court application.

"It is opportunistic to turn around and then say that the issue between you and me is resolved," he said.

Moshoana argued that Mdluli was awaiting a response on his application for leave to appeal the judgment, and that the Labour Court could uplift the suspension as it shared "the same status as the High Court".
Read more on:    police  |  richard mdluli

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