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Ramphele leads challenge of Mdluli decisions

Publish date: 16 May 2012
Issue Number: 3035
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: Litigation

Anti-apartheid activist Dr Mamphela Ramphele, a respected academic, medical doctor and former MD of the World Bank, heads an application by Freedom Under Law (FUL) to prevent controversial policeman Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli from performing any policing duties.

The Mail & Guardian says it understands former Constitutional Court Judge Johann Kriegler persuaded FUL to take on the case for the review of several decisions after the NPA refused to prosecute Mdluli. It says the matter was escalated after senior state prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach - who had been pushing for Mdluli to be prosecuted for fraud - was suspended. A similar interdict is being launched against Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa in an effort to prevent him from assigning any function or duty to Mdluli before the review is heard in court. The application will be heard on 5 June in the North Gauteng High Court. Mdluli's lawyer, Ike Motloung, declined to comment. Zweli Mnisi, spokesperson for Mthethwa, said he was aware of the urgent application against Mdluli but said the interdict against Mthethwa had not been received. 'The department has noted the urgent application,' he said. 'Our legal team is looking at it.'

In her affidavit, Ramphele draws on an official report, as well as affidavits made by two senior police officers who investigated criminal charges against Mdluli. The organisation is asking for a number of decisions to be reviewed, says the M&G, including: The decision by the head of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit to withdraw charges of fraud, corruption and money-laundering against Mdluli on 6 December last year; the decision by the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions in February to withdraw criminal charges, including murder, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice; the decision by the National Commissioner of the SAPS in February to withdraw criminal charges, including murder, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice; the decision by the National Commissioner, SAPS, in February, to withdraw disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli; the decision by the National Police Commissioner in March to reinstate Mdluli as head of crime intelligence. Full Mail & Guardian report See also a Beeld report

Ramphele also points out that both former police chief Jackie Selebi and current police boss General Bheki Cele were suspended on lesser charges, says a City Press report. Mdluli was moved sideways by Mthethwa last week after the Minister instigated an investigation into conspiracy claims made by Mdluli in a letter to President Jacob Zuma. Mdluli was moved from the Crime Intelligence Unit to the police's operational division, but Ramphele argues this is not enough. 'Patently (Mdluli's shift) does not resolve the problem caused by General Mdluli's reinstatement, and his far-reaching claims of conspiracy. By his conduct, the Minister accepted that there was a need to act, but has not initiated suspension proceedings, or any other measure which would remove General Mdluli from active daily service in SAPS... He remains vested with the authority of his rank ... able to exercise the powers vested in a police general under the Police Act and related legislation,' Ramphele argues. She claims that Mdluli has received 'partial and selective' treatment from Mthethwa - himself implicated in the looting of a R200m crime intelligence 'slush fund'. Full City Press report See also a report on the IoL site

The circumstances of the withdrawal of criminal charges against Mdluli were shrouded in secrecy, primarily because neither the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions nor the head of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit took it upon themselves to explain to the public those circumstances and the reasons the charges were withdrawn, Ramphele argues, according to a Business Day report. She said the way Mdluli had been dealt with reflected an extraordinary degree of lack of accountability and a breach of the culture of justification under the Constitution. His reinstatement, 'without prosecution of criminal and disciplinary charges against him, has caused serious controversy, material lack of trust within and outside the ranks of the SAPS, as well instability in SAPS, more particularly at its leadership level'. Full Business Day report

The Mdluli matter took another turn yesterday when an ANC MP called for a judicial commission of inquiry on the issue, notes a Beeld report. Luwellyn Landers, who chairs Parliament's Justice Committee, spoke in his personal capacity when he said the handling of the Mdluli saga was undermining confidence in the police. Landers raised the issue while MPs were discussing the safety of Breytenbach and other issues relating to the string of allegations against Mdluli. Breytenbach, who says she was shot at, was suspended after she challenged her NPA bosses on their decision to drop corruption charges against Mdluli. The NPA denies that her suspension relates to the Mdluli matter. Landers said so many attempts were being made to get to the truth, and these would continue without a judicial inquiry. 'The Public Protector has entered the fray, the Inspector-General of Crime Intelligence is involved with her third investigation, the Chief State Legal Adviser is busy with his investigation and then there is the disciplinary process of Advocate Breytenbach,' he is quoted as saying. Full Beeld report