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Pressure builds on Zuma over Mdluli saga

Publish date: 04 May 2012
Issue Number: 3027
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: General

Although Parliament has refused to discuss Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli's fitness to hold office, pressure continues to build on President Jacob Zuma and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to intervene in the matter around the crime intelligence boss.

Latest to join the fray are the PAC and ACDP. According to a report in The Times, the PAC's Mudini Maivha says that if Zuma and Mthethwa fail to order a swift investigation into Mdluli - controversially reinstated as head of crime intelligence in April after murder and fraud charges against him were questionably withdrawn - the SAPS will be 'seriously tarnished'. The public was entitled to a full investigation of the allegations against Mdluli. He added: 'The SAPS is being seriously undermined by the authorities' inaction following numerous reports of maladministration, scheming and the apparent unlawful dropping of charges against Mdluli.' Maivha called on Mthethwa to pay 'urgent attention' to the Mdluli saga, warning that the SAPS could 'plunge deeper into crisis'. ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe also urged Zuma to 'intervene in this 'war' in order to stop senior police officers from attacking each other in public', notes a report in The Mercury. He said the conflict between securocrats was 'undermining the credibility of the SAPS and threatening our national security'. Mthethwa's spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, stressed that the Minister's role was to provide strategic leadership and that SAPS management was more than capable of resolving operational matters. Full report in The Times Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)

The pleas came on the same day that Police Committee chair Sindi Chikunga barred the committee from discussing Mdluli, saying it was not the right platform on which to debate his fitness to head such a crucial office. Chikunga's refusal to discuss the matter follows a request by DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard for a special hearing on the issue. Chikunga is quoted in a report on the News24 site as saying her committee is not a court of law and so it could not do anything. 'Charges needed to be responded to in a court of law...the portfolio committee can't do anything,' she added. Full report on the News24 site

The man instrumental in bringing disgraced former police chief Jackie Selebi to justice claims Mdluli hampered his investigations, and has sworn to stop the crime intelligence chief from becoming SA's National Police Commissioner, says the Mail & Guardian. It quotes forensic consultant Paul O'Sullivan as saying Mdluli attempted to torpedo investigations into Selebi. 'Mdluli was the architect of a campaign to derail the investigation into Selebi. He created fictitious dockets, intimidated witnesses and bugged the phones of several people who would have been instrumental in bringing him to justice,' O'Sullivan reportedly told the paper. He is threatening to approach the High Court for an interdict preventing Mdluli ever being elevated to the position of National Police Commissioner. Full Mail & Guardian report

Members of Mdluli's family whom he appointed to posts in the Crime Intelligence Unit have not produced any meaningful work, according to senior officers in the Hawks. A Volksblad report notes that Mdluli came under fire when it emerged he had appointed his wife (as colonel), ex-wife (colonel), daughter (lieutenant-colonel), son (captain) and three in-laws to the unit. But, notes the report, the commander of the cybercrime division refuted the claims of the Hawks officers in an interview conducted in the presence of the state attorney dealing with the Crime Intelligence Unit matters. The commander said he handled 12 agents, including Mdluli's family members. He conceded that the family members had limited computer knowledge, but added that 'the most important quality needed for the job was the ability to 'work with people'. The attorney, Kobus Meier, claimed the family members handled 'bona fide' intelligence work. They concentrate on infiltrating cyber thugs and do this under their own names. Meier apparently conceded the appointments look suspicious, but said the family members may have attributes the public is not aware of. Full Volksblad report

Meanwhile, suspended NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach has asked for reasons for her suspension, her lawyer said yesterday. Breytenbach was suspended on Monday for conduct relating to cases allocated to her, according to the NPA, notes a report on the News24 site. Breytenbach was responsible for, among other cases, the fraud case against Mdluli, but the NPA has denied any link between her suspension and Mdluli. Her lawyer, Gerhaard Wagenaar, said he could confirm that she had written to acting NPA chief Nomgcobo Jiba to ask that he review the NPA's decision not to prosecute Mdluli. However, he said he did not know the origin of a news report that Breytenbach would not hesitate to take the decision to court if a review was not granted. Full report on the News24 site