J Edgar Mdluli?

2012-04-14 11:36

Quietly but ruthlessly, he became the most powerful man in the country.

Armed with files of the ruling elite’s dark secrets, he controlled their destinies and shaped history.

His name was J Edgar Hoover, the long-serving director of the Federal ­Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the best-known example in history of how intelligence can be perverted to blackmail people and engineer politics.

Once a respected crime-fighter, ­Hoover ended his career more ­interested in what politicians were ­doing in their bedrooms than on fighting criminals on the streets.

What are we to make of the brazen ­attempts by top politicians and prosecutors to save Lieutenant General Richard Naggie Mdluli, the head of crime intelligence, from facing murder and fraud charges? Is Mdluli our J Edgar Hoover, armed with files of the ruling elite’s dark secrets?

In the absence of any logical reason why Mdluli is being protected at all costs by President Jacob Zuma, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and senior prosecutors in the National Prosecuting Authority, this is a fair and reasonable question.

Take Tuesday. Zuma, flanked by his intelligence chiefs – including the ­recently reinstated Mdluli – gave a ­passionate speech at a remembrance day for late intelligence agents, emphasising the importance of the intelligence agencies in fighting crime and not ­getting involved in party politics.

“The intelligence community, as part of the security cluster, has to achieve the objective of ensuring all South Africans feel safe and are safe. This objective, which is the core outcome in the delivery agreement of the security cluster, is ­derived from the Constitution of the ­Republic,” the president said.

A few kilometres south, in the Boksburg Magistrates’ Court, senior Hawks investigator Kobus Roelofse was telling shocking tales of how Mdluli and three cops allegedly conspired to murder an innocent man who was dating the same woman as the crime intelligence chief.

Oupa Ramokgibe’s family was terrorised, abducted, assaulted and raped, Roelofse testified, by a group of thugs determined to keep his murderers out of jail.

But Zuma wants the Ramokgibe family, and the rest of South Africa, to believe the likes of Mdluli will ensure our safety.

Neither Zuma nor Mthethwa has ­explained why they so badly wanted ­Mdluli to head crime intelligence – the one state department that can drastically bring down crime by infiltrating syndicates and thwarting their evil plans.

Remember that a panel of four ministers closely aligned to Zuma (Mthethwa, Siyabonga Cwele, Susan Shabangu and Malusi Gigaba) interviewed Mdluli in the absence of any police manager
s or human resources experts.
The reason for this strange political process has never been explained.

Mdluli has no struggle record, and former uMkhonto weSizwe fighters, senior police officers and other players in the criminal justice sector are puzzled by his rapid rise and proximity to Zuma.

Mdluli joined the apartheid-era police service in 1979 and was station commander at Vosloorus before he was promoted to deputy police boss in Gauteng.

“He must have something big on the president. It’s something we don’t know about,” one source speculated this week.

This is a favourite theory among those who struggle to understand his survival amid a barrage of damaging allegations of murder, assault, fraud, corruption and nepotism being levelled against him in public on a daily basis.

Other theories include that Mdluli ­assisted Zuma during his rape trial, when he was head of detectives in Gauteng. In his judgment, Judge Willem van der Merwe lashed police detectives ­Peter Linda and Norman Taioe for shoddy police work during the pointing out of the alleged crime scene.

A more cynical theory is that Zuma needs Mdluli as his chief spy on the road to the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung. The subtext to this theory is that Mdluli will be in charge of Team Zuma’s dirty tricks, interceptions and attempts to engineer a favourable outcome at Mangaung.

Another possibility is that Mdluli realised he needed political protection at a high level to save him from prosecution, and skilfully co-opted Zuma by feeding him “intelligence” on an alleged plot, led by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, to unseat him in Mangaung.

Zuma has to date not distanced ­himself from the “ground coverage” plot report, nor has he taken any action to determine the origin and authenticity of the document, as requested by Sexwale.

Clues about the relationship between Mdluli and Zuma are found in official correspondence about what Mdluli ­believes to be a conspiracy against him by senior politicians and police bosses.

In November 2010, Mdluli wrote to Zuma to complain about the “campaign” against him. He clearly knows Zuma’s soft spots and mentions that those in the police who want him ­removed “are the very same members involved in negative campaigning at the ANC conference in Polokwane … they were in the camp of the former president (Thabo Mbeki) and are now trying to take control of the intelligence ­environment within the police by ­devious tactics.”

Mdluli then feels the need to explain his links to the ANC to Zuma: “Colonel (Nkosana) Ximba (a close ally of Mdluli) is an active member of the ANC and ­during the struggle was a leader of one of the Self Defence Units under MKVA. He was also a bodyguard for Mrs Winnie Mandela and former minister Steve ­Tswete (sic).

“I worked closely with them during the apartheid era, especially during the riots. Colonel Ximba also played an ­important role in the Polokwane conference and also during the president’s ­trying times with his engagement with the NPA.”

Ximba, who goes by the nickname “Killer”, is, like Mdluli, from Vosloorus and closely associated with him. He was also charged with Ramokgibe’s murder and has been described as the “strongman of Vosloorus”.

It is not clear if and how he was ­involved in the ANC’s Polokwane ­conference or with Zuma’s two prosecutions for rape and corruption.

A former MK soldier who was showed Mdluli’s letter to Zuma says a lot of it is “bullshit … Killer was never a senior member of MK. He is too young. And what is the ‘MKVA’? There was nothing like that in the struggle.”

Mdluli may have done a few favours for the ANC during the pre-1994 ­violence against Inkatha on the East Rand, but he had no serious links to the liberation movement. The former MK member claims it was Ximba who ­recently organised an ANC membership card for Mdluli.

“They are fixers. They will tell politicians they can do anything for them,” he says, adding another theory to why ­Mdluli is being protected and promoted against all odds.

Until Zuma publicly explains his ­loyalty to the crime intelligence boss, the speculation will continue and the ­image of a J Edgar Mdluli holding a thick file with the president’s name on it won’t evaporate.

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