‘High blood’ made Mdluli ‘flee’ to Cape Town

2012-06-03 10:00
Charl du Plessis and Adriaan Basson
Controversial former crime intelligence boss Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli tried to “flee” an attempt to suspend him.

This made it possible for Mdluli to obtain a court order lifting his suspension this week.

A senior police source told City Press that Mdluli evaded the signing of a notice of intention to suspend him two weeks ago by telling his immediate superior, Lieutenant General Fanie Masemola, that he would sign it the next day.

He then “fled” to Cape Town because he was suffering from “stress and high blood (pressure)”.

It was on this basis that a last-minute, unopposed temporary Labour Court application was granted on Friday lifting Mdluli’s suspension.

Although Mdluli says in his affidavit that he was being subjected to “double double jeopardy”, Judge Edwin Molahlehi granted the order on the basis that Mdluli had not been afforded the opportunity to make representations on his suspension.

In his affidavit Mdluli claims he was “shocked” when told by attorney Ike Motloung that the police intended to suspend him last week.

But an attached letter from acting police chief Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi to Motloung stated he found this “extremely strange” because the notice of intended suspension had been served on him two weeks prior.

“It is hereby placed on record that Lieutenant General Masemola personally served your client with the notice of intended suspension on May 15 at approximately 11am,” said Mkhwanazi.

In his affidavit Mdluli confirms that he met with Masemola for two hours on May 15. But Mdluli said he was told he would now be reporting directly to Masemola only after being “shifted” from crime intelligence by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Mdluli said that “on the same evening I fell sick and consulted a doctor, who indicated that I was suffering from stress and high blood (pressure), and (he) booked me off”.

Mdluli said the doctor claimed his condition would be “life threatening” if he continued to work. He said he sent an SMS to Masemola and later submitted a medical certificate.

It is not clear when Mdluli flew to Cape Town, but his affidavit notes that he was at his “Cape Town house” when notified by Motloung of his suspension.

It was subsequent to these events that Friday’s urgent application was launched, in which he said he was “never afforded an opportunity to make representations”.

» Two more parties have applied to join a case to have Mdluli booted from the police.

The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and Corruption Watch have applied to the North Gauteng High Court to be listed as applicants alongside Freedom Under Law in their case against Mthethwa, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and others.

They want Mdluli to be suspended from the police pending the outcome of the investigation into his alleged looting of the crime intelligence slush fund.

In his affidavit, the SJC’s Zackie Achmat says that people living in crime-ridden areas had lost faith in the police and court system “to deliver justice”.

“In Khayelitsha eight people have been killed in separate incidents by necklacing over the past three months alone . . . Very often this is done because residents believe the police will not act against alleged criminals,” he said.

“The failure of the SAPS and NPA to act effectively and transparently against those accused of serious offences creates a climate in which the public loses confidence in our security services and justice system, and in our Constitution.”

Cop Cluedo

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– Additional reporting by Nicki Güles