FOUR top police generals, including recently dismissed national commissioner Bheki Cele, have been cleared of allegations that they conspired to get rid of suspended crime intelligence boss Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli.
Mdluli wrote to President Jacob Zuma in September last year claiming his troubles were the result of a politically motivated conspiracy by fellow police officers. But a task team appointed by police minister Nathi Mthethwa in May to look into the matter has found no evidence to support Mdluli’s conspiracy theory.
At the time he wrote to Zuma, Mdluli was suspended after being arrested on charges of murder and kidnapping relating to the unsolved 1999 murder of Oupa Ramogibe, the partner of Mdluli’s former girlfriend.
The case was later converted to an inquest which is under way in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court.
The controversial general was also facing an internal police investigation into allegations that he used the police’s slush fund to buy cars and holidays and to illegally employ members of his extended family as paid police agents. But he complained to Zuma that Cele, with Hawks boss General Anwa Dramat, SAPS operational services head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya and Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros, had invented the allegations to get rid of him.
Mthethwa said in a statement yesterday that the ministerial task team, led by chief state law adviser Enver Daniels, had found the officers had acted “professionally, in good faith and with due care and regard for the sensitivity of the matter” when they had initiated investigations into Mdluli’s affairs.
“Furthermore, the team concluded that the source which gave (Mdluli) such information (of a conspiracy) could not corroborate its information,” the statement said. Mthethwa noted that Mdluli’s claims had had to be investigated because, if true, they would have “suggested the meddling of policing functions in politics”.
In his letter to Zuma – which the presidency has denied receiving – Mdluli tried to paint himself as the victim of a broad political conspiracy designed ultimately to replace Zuma as leader of the ANC. The letter was copied to Mthethwa, but he has also denied ever laying eyes on it.
“It is alleged that I support the minister of police and the president of the country. In the event that I come back to work I will assist the president to succeed next year (2012)... The four mentioned officers also had a meeting where they planned that I must be fired from the police before General Cele is suspended,” Mdluli wrote to Zuma and Mthethwa.