Mdluli's ‘pledge’ to Zuma

A month before fraud and corruption charges against crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli were dropped, he told President Jacob Zuma he would “assist the president to succeed next year” if he was reinstated in his job.

The apparent pledge is made in a strangely phrased letter Mdluli sent to Zuma in November last year.

City Press has a copy of the letter that was also sent to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and acting police chief Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

We can further reveal that:

» Suspended senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach told the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) two weeks ago that new evidence had been uncovered that implicates Mdluli and others in “extremely serious” crimes;

» In her memorandum to the NPA, Breytenbach says the decision to withdraw charges against Mdluli had the practical effect to “smother” serious other allegations of the abuse of state funds; and

» The police front company allegedly used by Mdluli and others to plunder a crime intelligence “slush fund” is the same company used by the apartheid security branch to buy explosives that were used against anti-apartheid activists.

Mdluli’s November letter to Zuma can be read as an attempt by the career policeman to ingratiate himself with Zuma.

In it Mdluli claims that there is a conspiracy against him driven by senior police officers who want him out of the job.

“It is alleged (by the conspirators)” that I support the minister of police and the president of the country. In the event that I come back to work, I will assist the president to succeed next year,” Mdluli wrote.

Yesterday City Press specifically asked Mdluli to explain whether he offered to assist Zuma in his campaign to be re-elected as ANC leader in December in the letter.

Mdluli, through spokesperson Brigadier Lindela Mashigo, chose not to respond or to distance himself from that interpretation.

ANC insiders and securocrats have been puzzled by Mdluli’s perceived closeness to Zuma, since he has no struggle record and is implicated in the looting of the “slush fund”.

Sources in the police who have seen the letter agree that its clear purpose was to cosy up to Zuma.

“It gives you a clue why he is being protected,” said one.

On Tuesday Mdluli, whose unit is supposed to infiltrate crime syndicates and provide the police with information that will prevent crime, appeared at the same Cosatu Workers’ Day event as Zuma in Botshabelo in the Free State.

Asked why he was there and who invited him, Mdluli said he attended the event “as part of my duty as a police officer” and was assisting the provincial commissioner.

“I never shared a stage with politicians. My attendance had nothing to do with President Zuma and I am not close to him; I am working for the government of the day,” Mdluli responded.

City Press understands there was unease within Cosatu over Mdluli’s presence at the event.

In the letter to Zuma, Mdluli alleges suspended police chief Bheki Cele, Gauteng police boss Mzwandile Petros, Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and head of detectives Godfrey Lebeya are plotting against him.

The Sunday Independent reported last month that Mkhwanazi confirmed receiving the letter and told Mdluli to use it as part of his disciplinary hearing.

Mdluli claims to have received three affidavits “regarding a conspiracy against me” and says he received information that the end goal of the “conspiracy” is to replace him with former crime intelligence head Rayman Lalla or someone else.

Mdluli also requests the recipients to suspend all disciplinary actions against him until his criminal cases were finalised. It appears that Mdluli’s pleas were heard:

» A month after Mdluli sent the letter, the fraud and corruption charges against him were dropped;

» In February the murder charge against him was controversially withdrawn and referred to a judicial inquest; and

» In March, Mdluli’s suspension from the police was lifted after intervention by Mthethwa and he was also put in charge of the police’s VIP protection unit that controls the movement of all Cabinet ministers.

This week Breytenbach, who was the driving force behind Mdluli’s corruption prosecution, was suspended from the NPA on unrelated charges.

City Press has seen a copy of the memorandum she gave acting prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba two weeks ago.

In the document Breytenbach claims that Mdluli’s case is being handled differently from other police officers implicated in corruption; that the effect of the dropping of charges was to “smother” other allegations of corruption in crime intelligence; and that more evidence against Mdluli and others has been uncovered, but that the NPA’s decision “had the practical effect of bringing the criminal investigation to an end”.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that the Hawks was still probing claims of corruption and fraud relating to the secret
services fund.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said he stood by his earlier statement, saying Zuma had nothing to do with Mdluli’s reinstatement.

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– Additional reporting by Jacques Pauw and Carien du Plessis 

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