Richard Mdluli milks the system

Richard Mdluli outside the Labour Court in Pretoria. Picture: Deaan Vivier
Richard Mdluli outside the Labour Court in Pretoria. Picture: Deaan Vivier

Nearly R4.2 million. That is what the SA Police Service (SAPS) has paid former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli since he was suspended on full pay in 2012.

But that’s not all. Senior police sources told City Press this week that Mdluli was also still enjoying other state perks, including a full-time driver and bodyguard, a state vehicle, business class flights and newspaper subscriptions delivered to his home on Gauteng’s East Rand – all paid for by the police.

City Press understands that as recently as last month, he flew business class from Johannesburg to Cape Town on undisclosed police business and the police footed the bill.

Four highly placed sources – who are employed by and are close to the crime intelligence unit, as well as in senior police management – said Mdluli was still benefiting from all the perks his post provides.

This week, Mdluli was on trial in the South Gauteng High Court on charges of assault and kidnapping relating to the death of his former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe.

In August, he will be tried in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court – with former crime intelligence chief financial officer Solly Lazarus and fellow unit member Hein Barnard – for allegedly defrauding the crime intelligence unit’s secret slush fund.

Mdluli is also alleged to have employed his family members as informants and went on overseas trips using cash from the fund.

SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale confirmed that Mdluli was still receiving his state salary, saying he had been suspended on full pay. Makgale refused to comment on why Mdluli still had the use of a state vehicle, as well as a driver and bodyguard.

Mdluli is a powerful police officer who has close ties to President Jacob Zuma and senior officials in the National Prosecuting Authority, including its deputy national director, Nomcgobo Jiba. In 2012 Mdluli wrote to President Zuma, promising to help him in his bid to be re-elected ANC leader at the party’s Mangaung conference. But he has denied abusing the crime intelligence unit for political purposes.

Mdluli remains on the SAPS payroll, even though other senior police offices, who have been suspended for various violations, have been cut off financially.

They include Mdluli’s successor, Major General Chris Ngcobo, who was suspended in October last year.

A month later, an internal disciplinary hearing found he had “consistently lied about having a matric certificate”.

Ngcobo told his disciplinary inquiry that as a former MK combatant, a matric certificate was not a requirement for him to join the police service. He was found guilty, but has yet to be formally dismissed.

Two senior police sources have alleged that Mdluli is being protected by national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, who has failed to institute disciplinary proceedings against him since he was suspended in 2012 despite recommendations from the SAPS internal legal division that she should take action.

“Phiyega does not want to institute a disciplinary inquiry against Mdluli, despite being advised to do so. She wants Mdluli to reach the age of 60 and to be kicked out of the payroll by the police service’s Persal system,” said a senior police officer.

The salary system, used by many government departments, automatically removes an employee from the payroll once the person reaches retirement age.

Mdluli, who turned 57 last month, earns a salary of at least R1 398 771 a year. This excludes annual increases based on the years of service.

As to why Mdluli has yet to face any internal disciplinary proceedings, Makgale said there had been “legal challenges” in that regard, but would not elaborate on them.

This week, suspended Gauteng Hawks boss Major General Shadrack Sibiya told his disciplinary inquiry that Mdluli’s subordinates at the crime intelligence unit had falsely implicated him in the illegal rendition of five Zimbabweans. He said this happened in 2010, shortly after he obtained a warrant to arrest Mdluli for Ramogibe’s murder.

On Friday, Sibiya’s lawyer, Paul Kennedy, told the hearing Mdluli had coached three of his crime intelligence officers to make statements implicating his client in the renditions despite cellphone location evidence proving he was not at the scene when the Zimbabweans were arrested. The three officers have denied Sibiya’s claims despite giving contradicting accounts on what happened during the renditions.

Former Hawks head Anwa Dramat was suspended late last year by police minister Nathi Nhleko for his alleged role in the renditions. He later resigned.

Makgale said Ngcobo’s salary was “stopped in line with our internal disciplinary processes”.

However, he did not respond to questions on why Mdluli continued to receive his salary for almost three years while on suspension with no disciplinary charges brought against him, and despite facing serious criminal charges.

“We have explained matters relating to Lieutenant General Mdluli’s disciplinary matter. There is nothing new to add. Mdluli is on suspension with full pay,” he said.

Makgale did not respond to allegations that Phiyega was protecting Mdluli.

Mdluli’s lawyer, Ike Motloung, said: “My client has not been dismissed. He is still in the employ of the SAPS. I am not aware that my client still has a bodyguard.”

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