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A top level task team appointed by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa in May to probe allegations made by controversial former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli has cleared four senior SAPS generals of a conspiracy against Mdluli.
In a letter in which he pledged to assist President Jacob Zuma “to succeed next year” if he was allowed to return to work, Mdluli claimed that former national police commissioner Bheki Cele, Hawks head Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat, operational services head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya and Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros were ganging up against him in a bid to discredit him and prevent him from rising in the police ranks.
However, in a statement on Thursday, Mthethwa said the task team – headed by chief state law adviser Enver Daniels – had found the four were not involved in any kind of conspiracy. “The task team has found no evidence suggesting that the above-mentioned senior police officials were involved in any kind of conspiracy against Lieutenant-General Mdluli. The conclusion and findings are that the officials accused by Lieutenant-General Mdluli of working together against him had acted professionally, in good faith and with due care and regard for the sensitivity of the matter,” Mthethwa said.
The team had also found the source for Mdluli’s claims “could not corroborate its information”.
Mdluli was removed as head of crime intelligence to allow the task team to probe his claims of a conspiracy.
In his letter alleging the conspiracy, which was sent to President Jacob Zuma, Mthethwa and to the then acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, Mdluli said he had received three affidavits in relation to a conspiracy against him. He said he had received information in November last year that disciplinary processes would be used to replace him.
Mthethwa and Zuma have denied receiving the letter.
“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 letter said, in reference to the ANC’s upcoming elective conference in December this year.
He cited Cele, Petros, Lebeya and Dramat as the four senior officers who had been working together against him and who “even overlooked the Secret Service Act on covert activities at crime intelligence in order to implicate me”.
Mdluli also alleged in the letter that Dramat had been summoned by Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence and “told to leave covert activities to the Inspector-General of Intelligence because he has no business there”.
“The four mentioned officers also had a meeting where they planned that I must be fired from the police before General Cele is suspended,” the letter read.
Mdluli concluded his letter by saying he was working for his family and that he wanted to return to work.
The letter was considered serious enough to warrant an investigation because of the tensions it caused in the management of the SAPS and because of its political connotations.
Mthethwa said the terms of reference for the task team were to collate information, including the letter, as well as to consult with all the people mentioned in it and to provide in-depth analysis and compile a final report.
He said the team had completed its work in the stipulated period of one month to conduct the investigation.
Mdluli has been mired in controversy for more than a year, facing accusations of murder, attempted murder, the misuse of slush funds, fraud, nepotism and political interference.
He was initially suspended on charges of fraud and corruption and was also charged with murder relating to the death of his former girlfriend’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe. The charges were later withdrawn and he was reinstated to his position.
He was then sidelined to another position by Mthethwa before being suspended again.
The Labour Court lifted the suspension last month, but overturned its decision a day later. He has applied to the High Court for his suspension to be overturned.
In the meantime, however, NGO Freedom Under Law won an application to have him barred from returning to work pending a review of his suspension, reinstatement and the dropping of charges against him.