Police cases to continue

2012-06-21 06:58

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli’s challenge to his suspension from the police will continue in the Johannesburg Labour Court while details of the Durban crime unit police saga starts to unfold in the city’s regional court today.

During Mdluli’s last appearance at the beginning of June, Judge Andre van Niekerk ordered that he should file answering affidavits by June 13.

Mdluli is challenging his suspension after the court granted an order lifting it, but subsequently overturned it again.

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 as secret agents.

He also faced a murder charge for the death of his former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe. The charges led to his initial suspension.

An inquiry into the murder would continue in September.

This year, all the charges were withdrawn and Mdluli was reinstated in March. This was widely criticised by, among others, the Democratic Alliance and lobby group Freedom Under Law.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa later moved Mdluli to a different division, but acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi subsequently suspended him.

Meanwhile, the 20 members of the now-disbanded Durban Organised Crime Unit are expected to appear in the city’s regional court for their bail hearing.

They were arrested yesterday and face charges ranging from murder and the unlawful possession of ammunition, to theft and assault.

Lawyers for the men had sought an urgent interdict to have their arrests declared unlawful.

However, Judge Trevor Gorven ordered in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court that their bail hearing take place in the Durban Regional Court today.

Usually, bail hearings are not heard on an accused person’s first court appearance.

The application for the arrests to be declared unlawful was adjourned indefinitely.

The arrests were part of a joint operation by the Hawks and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

Three members were arrested in Gauteng – two in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, and one on the West Rand.

The rest were arrested in various locations around Durban.

The unit’s commanding officer Maj-Gen Johan Booysen, who was also the KwaZulu-Natal boss of the Hawks, was not one of the 20.

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said 15 investigators had been probing various complaints since December last year.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said a quantity of counterfeit money was also seized during the arrests.

The unit was shut down in February amid allegations that an alleged death squad operated in the Cato Manor crime unit.

Most of its members had since been incorporated into the Hawks.

Booysen was issued with a notice of suspension in March, but it was later set aside. He faced allegations of negligence, or failing to act in connection with the alleged death squad.

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