Mdluli was ‘SB’

2012-05-12 15:34

ANC activists who were detained in the East Rand are starting to speak out about Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli’s past as a Security Branch policeman.

The governing party’s national executive committee (NEC) is also likely to discuss the controversial police officer at its meeting next weekend.

A senior ANC leader told City Press there was “widespread concern” in the party about the perceived political protection Mdluli was receiving and suggestions by Mdluli that he would use state resources to secure President Jacob Zuma’s re-election as ANC leader in December.

Zuma again denied on Friday that he was protecting Mdluli.

The controversial policeman was removed as head of crime intelligence this week to allow a task team to investigate his claims of a conspiracy against him by senior police officers.

City Press spoke to six independent sources who confirmed that as a young policeman Mdluli was a member of the notorious apartheid Security Branch – also referred to as “SB” – that arrested, interrogated and tortured anti-apartheid activists.

The sources – ANC members, police officers and former Umkhonto weSizwe members – were all too scared to go on record and said they suspected their phones might be bugged.

Four sources remembered Mdluli as an SB on the East Rand in the 1980s. “I don’t remember him torturing people, but he was definitely part of the interrogations,” said one former ANC activist.

An ANC NEC member said it was “common knowledge” that Mdluli was a member of the SB.

The Security Branch left a trail of human rights violations throughout the country. Only 5% of all police officers at the time were members of the unit.

They were involved in 446 incidents of violence that included murder, torture, kidnapping and disappearances.

“ANC intelligence knew that Mdluli was part of SB,” said a police source. “That’s why people are puzzled about his protection now.”

Mdluli didn’t respond to questions about his Security Branch past this week.

Mdluli’s name came up in an ANC NEC meeting last year when the “ground coverage” intelligence report on an alleged conspiracy against Zuma was discussed. This week Mdluli distanced himself from the document, which claims Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale was leading a campaign to unseat Zuma in Mangaung.

Mdluli told the Mail & Guardian the report was “bullshit” and that his signature on the document, to declassify it, was forged.

In a peculiar move, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa appointed a task team to investigate Mdluli’s claims of a conspiracy against him – and moved Mdluli out of his job.

The claims of a conspiracy were made in a letter to Zuma, Mthethwa and acting police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi in November last year. Both Zuma and Mthethwa denied receiving the letter this week.

City Press has seen three affidavits on which Mdluli relies to prove the conspiracy against him. One is by a crime intelligence officer and two by police informants from Vosloorus, Mdluli’s hometown.

In it they claim that a Colonel Ronnie Naidoo from crime intelligence had obtained information that Hawks boss Anwa Dramat, Gauteng police chief Mzwandile Petros and head of detectives Godfrey Lebeya asked suspended police boss Bheki Cele to get rid of Mdluli.

In an affidavit that was submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority to have charges against him dropped, Mdluli stated that he met Naidoo at Emperors Palace.

“He greeted me and said he is a Christian.” Naidoo then told Mdluli a colleague from crime intelligence had “disappeared and he was pressured to tell lies about me (Mdluli) to the Hawks so that I could be fired from the police. I asked what lies and he said he did not know. I told him that I did not care to let him lie about me.”

Mdluli further stated he was “not surprised because the same generals are involved in cabal (sic) against me especially because they lie and said I was involved in the murder case”.

Mdluli then states the matter “must be reported” to Mthethwa, that he was informed the generals wanted former crime intelligence head Rayman Lalla back in his job and that Naidoo said he (Mdluli) “must be careful because I may be assassinated because I did not resign”.

Mthethwa’s task team is led by State Law Adviser Enver Daniels and will report back in a month’s time.

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