The Freedom Under Law group has reason to celebrate after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled that the criminal charges against Richard Mdluli must be reinstated. Richard Mdluli is the former head of the crime intelligence unit. On Monday, Judge John Murphy decided that withdrawing the fraud and corruption charges which had been brought against Mdluli was a dubious decision made by Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi of the NPA’s specialised commercial crimes unit in 2011.
Judge Murphy said that the charges were the result of a “comprehensive investigation by Colonel Viljoen” and a significant amount of evidence had been collected to support the allegations. Mdluli is accused of using taxpayer’s money to finance the sale of his private luxury vehicle. It is alleged that he masterminded an elaborate scheme where members of his family were registered as employees under the intelligence unit and earned salaries which are equal to those earned by intelligence operatives.
Murphy remarked: “The decision and instruction by Mrwebi to withdraw the fraud and corruption charges must be set aside. It was illegal, irrational, based on irrelevant considerations and material errors of law, and ultimately so unreasonable that no reasonable prosecutor could have taken it.”
In another case, Richard Mdluli was implicated in the death of the man who married his former lover. Tshidi Buthelezi and Mdluli have a child together. After her relationship with Mdluli ended, she married Oupa Ramogibe. Ramogibe’s family named Mdluli as their prime suspect in Oupa’s death. There were other witnesses who came forward. They gave statements to the effect that Mdluli had used a number of intimidation tactics against them including assault and kidnapping after they told police that they were present when Mdluli threatened to kill Ramogibe. Mdluli denies being involved in any way. The court was also not satisfied with the manner that that case was handled.
The national director of public prosecutions was instructed to reinstate the criminal charges against Richard Mdluli. The national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega was also given a task by the court: to resume disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli sooner rather than later.
In general, Judge Murphy is not pleased with the way that the South African Police Services dealt with the Mdluli cases. He stated: “She (Phiyega) apparently sees no need to place any obstacles in the way of Mdluli’s return to work despite her constitutional duty to investigate allegations against him and the unfeasibility of his holding of a position of trust at the highest level in SAPS.”
On Tuesday, the SAPS said that it was still analysing the court’s decision. Mdluli can still seek intervention from the Supreme Court of Appeals and if necessary, the Constitutional Court but as things stand, he looks set to face the music in court.