President Jacob Zuma must instruct Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to re-suspend crime intelligence unit head Richard Mdluli, the DA said on Wednesday.
Mdluli should be suspended pending the outcome of investigations, after numerous allegations of criminality were levelled against him, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko told journalists at Parliament.
"President Zuma also needs to provide South Africa with an urgent explanation as to his involvement in the appointment of Richard Mdluli as head of the crime intelligence unit in the first instance, following the dropping of charges against him by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)," she said.
As head of the executive, such an important appointment could not have been made without his knowledge.
If Zuma supported his appointment, he should explain why he believed Mdluli, who had "numerous criminal allegations against him", was a fit and proper person to head up such an important crime-fighting division.
"If the decision was indeed made without his involvement, and without any discussion by Cabinet -- as was announced this past week -- then President Zuma has clearly demonstrated he has no control over his own government," Mazibuko said.
The decision by Mthethwa, if indeed it was his decision, to reinstate Mdluli as the head of the unit tarnished the reputation of South Africa at home and abroad.
"The serious charges Mdluli faces are of such gravity that, in any other democracy, he would be precluded from such a senior post.
"Giving Mr Mdluli the sole power to sanction wiretapping is the stuff of espionage and spy novels, not the practice of modern democracy where the separation of powers is clearly delineated."
Mazibuko said she intended to oversee a number of steps in Parliament to ensure that the Zuma administration was held to account Mdluli's appointment.
These included a formal motion to the members of the portfolio committee on police on whether special hearings should be undertaken, in terms of National Assembly Rule 202(1).
Among other things, direct questions would also be put to Mthethwa during a parliamentary debate, and further parliamentary questions would follow.
Mazibuko said she further intended to ask Auditor General Terence Nombembe for a meeting to discuss the "misuse of the Intelligence Fund by Mdluli" when he headed crime intelligence, and request that he provide Parliament with a report detailing his findings in this regard.
The DA would seek legal advice as to whether there was a case to review the suspension of charges by the NPA against Mdluli, which had been described as a "slam dunk case".
"The time has come for President Zuma to explain, unequivocally, his involvement in the reinstatement of Richard Mdluli, and in doing so, take clear corrective action by re-suspending him," she said.