By Kwazi Dlamini

On Tuesday 30 July 2019, former head of police crime intelligence Richard Mdluli was found guilty of four counts of intimidation, two counts of kidnapping and three counts of assault at the North Gauteng High Court. The charges relate to a love triangle that involved Mdluli’s former partner and another man in 1999, when Mdluli was head of Vosloorus police station.  The man was shot and killed shortly after allegedly being threatened by Mdluli, but the murder charge was withdrawn.

Some of the other charges that were later levelled against Mdluli during his time with crime intelligence include fraud, corruption and money-laundering. These were brought in in September 2011, but were withdrawn in December of the same year by the then newly appointed National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) special director Lawrence Mrwebi.

Mrwebi has since been found not fit to hold office by the Mokgoro Commission of Inquiry due to his unlawful conduct in handling high-profile criminal cases during his tenure with the NPA.

This included his handling of the fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli, which were reinstated in 2014 after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the 2013 High Court ruling against Mdluli and the NPA.

Corruption Watch (CW) has always taken huge interest in the Mdluli cases as the organisation believes, in line with its mandate, that people who head law enforcement agencies should not be tainted with corruption and should be people of integrity. As far back as 2012 CW and The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) filed a joint application for leave to intervene as co-applicants to ask the court to review and set aside the NPA’s decision to halt the prosecution of Mdluli for his alleged involvement in corruption. In the joint application, the co-applicants noted that it was vital that allegations of this magnitude be fully and effectively investigated and pursued. 

CW and SJC later withdrew their joint application for review in the interest of ensuring a faster litigation process.

Transparent and merit-based appointments

CW is still fighting for transparency in leadership appointments, notably through its ongoing police campaign. CW is also raising awareness around upcoming leadership appointments in three key South African institutions – the Independent Police Investigative Directive will be need of a new executive director; the Office of the Auditor-General will also be seeking a new auditor-general; and the Office of the Public Protector will appoint a deputy public protector.

CW also raised awareness of the appointment of the current public protector through the BUA MZANSI Choose your Public Protector campaign, which aimed to “ensure that every step of the appointment process takes place in the public spotlight, to safeguard the independence and integrity of the Office of the Public Protector”.