Top cop Mdluli barred
SUSPENDED crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli was yesterday interdicted from performing any duties as a police official pending an application to reinstate criminal and disciplinary charges against him.
Judge Ephraim Makgoba granted an urgent interim interdict to Freedom Under Law (FUL) in terms of which the national police commissioner and the minister of police were also interdicted from assigning any function or duty to Mdluli.
This was pending the determination of FUL's application to set aside decisions to withdraw criminal charges ranging from murder and defeating the ends of justice to fraud, corruption and money laundering as well as disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli.
FUL will also seek a court order to force the national director of public prosecutions and head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit to reinstate all criminal charges against Mdluli and the police commissioner to reinstate the disciplinary charges.
Judge Makgoba said it would be unconscionable for Mdluli to continue with his duties with those allegations still looming against him.
He said he could not lose sight of the serious nature of the allegations against Mdluli and the public interest that had been displayed.
"The sooner this saga is brought to an end, the sooner the credibility of the police, security service and the justice system as a whole can be restored," the judge said.
Judge Makgoba said the criminal charges were the product of intensive investigations by an investigative team which compiled a report and affidavits explaining the factual bases of the charges.
Mdluli was suspended for the first time in November last year as a result of the serious criminal charges, but was reinstated in March this year after the charges and disciplinary proceedings were withdrawn.
Mdluli thereafter made serious allegations of conspiracy against other senior members of the police, resulting in Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announcing in Parliament that Mdluli would be-redeployed pending investigations into the allegations by a ministerial task team.
Acting national Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi thereafter suspended Mdluli again.
Mdluli obtained an order for his reinstatement in the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Friday, but the same court overturned the decision on Sunday.
The matter will be back in the court on June 21.
Mdluli and the police commissioner argued that FUL's application was not urgent as Mdluli had already been suspended, but Judge Makgoba said this argument missed the point of the application.
He said FUL was not seeking an order to suspend Mdluli, but to prevent him from working with the view to preserve the integrity of the investigations into the allegations against him and the functioning of the SAPS.
"It is common cause that Mdluli has been suspended before, also pending disciplinary proceedings and that this suspension was lifted without the disciplinary proceedings being finalised," he said.
The judge said FUL's argument that Mdluli's suspension might be lifted again while questions raised by the application remained unsolved was not far-fetched.
Judge Makgoba stressed that the decisions FUL sought to review impacted on the ability of the police as an organisation to carry out its objectives as set out in the Constitution.
"The public controversy and its effect on the integrity of SAPS and its ability to fulfil the constitutional mandate, coupled with the risk that Mdluli may be permitted to resume his duties, are sufficient to find a reasonable apprehension of irreparable harm," the judge said. - Sapa