Mdluli facing fire after inquest delayed
Johannesburg - Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli came under fire from opposition parties on Wednesday after the inquest into the murder of his former lover's husband was postponed.
Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said Mdluli should be suspended until the inquest into Oupa Ramogibe's murder is complete.
"It is unthinkable that Mdluli is able to effectively and efficiently execute his duties while preoccupied with an on-going inquest into the allegations of murder and other criminal behaviour against him," she said.
The inquest was postponed on Tuesday by the Boksburg Magistrate's Court.
It heard that Mdluli had applied to the State for financial assistance for his defence as he could not afford his legal fees.
Freedom Front Plus spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said the application should not be approved.
"It is totally unacceptable that taxpayers' money is used to pay for Mdluli's legal fees, as the case did not arise from him carrying out his duties," he said.
"He has to pay for his legal fees himself and not the taxpayers."
Criminal charges were recently withdrawn against Mdluli, court orderly Samuel Dlomo, Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, and Lieutenant Colonel Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi.
In February, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced that the best way to deal with the matter was through a formal inquest and not a trial.
Mdluli had faced charges included intimidation, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
‘Selebi matter repeating itself’
Kohler-Barnard said the reinstatement of Mdluli two weeks ago undermined the police's credibility and posed a risk to national security.
"The fact that Mdluli is back in the top job of a unit that he allegedly defrauded is similarly inexplicable," she said.
Groenewald said he was writing a letter to Justice Minister Jeff Radebe requesting him not to approve Mdluli's financial application.
"The same process as in the case of Jackie Selebi is now repeating itself. In Selebi's case the legal fees amounted to R17.5m and Selebi's assets amounted to only R3.2m," he said.
On March 30, the presidency denied that President Jacob Zuma had interfered with a corruption probe into Mdluli's affairs or his reinstatement.
It also denied that Zuma had asked Inspector General of Intelligence Faith Radebe to rethink her decision to hand over the Mdluli investigation to the NPA.
Tuesday was the first day of what had initially been scheduled as a 10-day hearing. Nearly 40 witnesses were meant to testify during the inquiry.
The investigating officer Kobus Roelofse, compiled a 67-page affidavit with a detailed history of the case.
This evidence was presented previously at a bail hearing.
At the time of Ramogibe's killing in 1999, Mdluli was the branch commander of the Vosloorus police station.
Roelofse's affidavit revealed that Mdluli had been having an affair with Tshidi Buthelezi since 1986.
Buthelezi met Ramogibe in 1997. At the time, she was still in a relationship with Mdluli. Buthelezi and Ramogibe married in July 1998, as witnessed by Alice Manana, a relative of Buthelezi.
He said Ramogibe and Buthelezi did not tell their families about the marriage.
"Mdluli, Ximba, Mthunzi and Dlomo visited the homes of various family members... in an attempt to convince them by means of intimidation to put pressure on Buthelezi and the deceased to stop their relationship," said Roelofse.
He said the couple went into hiding from Mdluli shortly after their marriage.
The inquest is scheduled to continue on April 30.