Zuma won't be drawn on Mdluli

2012-05-22 21:01

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has declined to be drawn on the merits of an earlier decision to reinstate SA Police Service (SAPS) crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Replying to questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday, he sought to assure Parliament and the country that the law enforcement agencies were "operating as they should, protecting the public whose safety and security remains the top priority of government".

It would be wrong to give an impression that the entire police service was in disarray because of the Mdluli matter, Zuma said.

"We are dealing with one element, which is intelligence, not the entire police force."

Zuma was asked by Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko whether he had been informed of all the considerations resulting in the decision to reinstate Mdluli.

He was also asked to give his view on whether the considerations were "rational" and whether Mdluli met all the requirements for performing the duties of his post.

In his response, the President noted that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa had appointed a task team to investigate some aspects of this matter, while the Inspector General of Intelligence was also probing aspects that were within her mandate.

"Everything possible was being done to address the matter."


However, ultimately, the appointments, suspensions, reinstatements, transfers, and all staff movements in government departments were the responsibility of those departments "and not the President".

There were government prescripts and procedures in place to deal with performance issues within departments.

The President did not manage the performance of officials in government departments, Zuma said.

On Monday, acting police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi's office declined to confirm he had signed a notice to suspend Mdluli.

"If somebody has been given a notice of intention to suspend it is an internal matter," said Brigadier Lindela Mashigo, spokesperson for the acting national police commissioner.

"If and when somebody is suspended, then I can make it public," he added.

Earlier Mkhwanazi told SABC radio news: "I signed a notice of suspension on Sunday [May 13] but other than that I'm not sure... was it delivered and what's the latest on it."

On Friday, Mdluli told the public broadcaster he had not been served with a suspension notice.

Mkhwanazi said it was up to "a deputy national commissioner" to communicate to Mdluli.

Fraud, murder claims

Mkhwanazi said after Mdluli was removed as crime intelligence head earlier this month: "He was going to report to one of the deputy national commissioners, and he is the one communicating with Mdluli, not me."

Mthethwa announced on May 9 that Mdluli would be moved from crime intelligence to a position in the office of the deputy national police commissioner for operations, Fannie Masemola.

Mdluli was first suspended in 2011 when he was arrested on fraud and murder allegations, but that suspension was lifted in March this year. Mthethwa then announced his move.

Since then, several media have reported he was served with a second suspension notice and that he had until Tuesday to give reasons as to why he should not be suspended again.

Read more on:    police  |  nhlanhla mkhwanazi  |  richard mdluli  |  nathi mthethwa  |  lindiwe mazibuko  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town

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