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Johannesburg - The setting aside of the decision to withdraw charges against former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli was welcomed by Cosatu on Wednesday.
The ruling, which also ordered national police commissioner Riah Phiyega to restore disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli, was made on Monday by Judge John Murphy in the High Court in Pretoria.
Murphy said the withdrawal of disciplinary charges against Mdluli by then-acting national commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, and his re-instatement, was a dereliction of his constitutional and statutory duties.
Murphy's judgment further stated that Mkhwanazi frustrated the proper functioning of the SA Police Service Act, undermined the integrity of the SA Police Service (SAPS), and failed to ensure it operated transparently and accountably.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions supported this view.
“Everyone is innocent until proved guilty, but these charges against Mdluli are so serious that they cannot be swept under the carpet,” Cosatu said in a statement.
“As the federation said when the allegations against Mdluli first surfaced, corruption and theft of public funds is a malignant cancer rotting away our social and political cohesion.”
Most South Africans in both the public and private sectors were honest and conscientious, but a corrupt minority was having a “deadly effect” on South African society.
“Bring them before the courts and put them behind bars,” the labour union federation said.
With the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and SAPS charged with enforcing the law, both organisations needed to be scrupulous in their investigations.
The application for a review and the setting aside of the decision to withdraw criminal and disciplinary charges against Mdluli was brought by lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL).
Mdluli was suspended amid charges of fraud and corruption, and charges relating to the murder of his former lover's husband.
An inquest cleared him of any involvement in the murder. The NPA later withdrew charges of fraud and corruption. He was reinstated, but again suspended in 2012 pending FUL's application.
Laurance Hodes, SC, for the national director of public prosecutions, argued in court earlier this month that instead of “marching off to court”, FUL should have sought the review from the NDPP.
Hodes said the Mdluli matter had been provisionally withdrawn, which did not amount to a discontinuation of the prosecution process. Decisions on whether to prosecute lay with the NDPP, not with courts, Hodes had argued.