Durban - A COURT ruling has paved the way for the KwaZulu-Natal crime intelligence boss, Major-General Deena Moodley, to return to his post with his deputy.
But he can report for duty only when the SAPS formally asks him to.
The police are still studying the ruling.
The judgment sets aside the transfer of Moodley and his deputy, Brigadier Sithembiso Ndlovu’s, to the SAPS Pinetown and Inanda offices respectively.
On Friday, Labour Court Judge David Gush also ordered that the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, pay the costs of the application.
Moodley and Ndlovu lodged separate applications in 2012 against Ngobeni, the acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, and the acting divisional commissioner of crime intelligence, Lieutenant-General Fani Masemola.
Moodley opposed his transfer to the Pinetown policing area as cluster commander and Ndlovu opposed his transfer to Inanda police station as crime prevention commander.
Their applications were later joined as they were based on the same facts.
Moodley was transferred after it was alleged he instructed officers to intercept the cellphone calls of journalists. It has been reported that former national police commissioner Bheki Cele’s cellphone calls were also monitored.
In April 2012, the court granted an order that the transfers would be held in abeyance pending finalisation of the matter; that both men would not return to work; and that no one would be permanently appointed in their positions.
In court papers, Moodley said he was served with a notice of intention to suspend him for misconduct in February 2012.
The letter, signed by Masemola, stated that his suspension was being considered for alleged contravention of police discipline regulations, in that he had instructed officers to have cellphone calls of journalists intercepted in November 2010, knowing that such an application for interception would contain information that was false, incorrect or misleading.
Moodley had then made submissions to police management stating why he should not be suspended. The officers concerned also submitted affidavits saying they were told by Moodley to investigate journalists who had posed a “threat” to the SAPS.
After considering Moodley’s submissions, Masemola had said he had decided not to suspend him. However, three days later Mkhwanazi sent Moodley a letter asking him to report to Pinetown.
Moodley’s attorney then wrote to Mkhwanazi opposing the transfer and requesting reasons for it, but no reply was received and Moodley was subsequently locked out of his office.
Moodley claimed in court papers that his ousting was part of a “greater scheme” by Mkhwanazi to get rid of the alleged “Indian mafia” from crime intelligence.
Ndlovu had said in court papers that his transfer was because he refused to implicate Moodley in any wrongdoing and had not shown his allegiance to African bosses in the police service.
Yesterday, a family friend of Moodley’s, who did not want to be named, said Moodley’s return as the provincial head of intelligence would see a drop in crime, which he said had “skyrocketed” since the office had been away.
“(Moodley) was the only police officer in South Africa with an MBA degree in crime, yet he was transferred somewhere else,” he said.
“Hopefully (his) return will benefit not only KZN, but South Africa, by bringing crime down.”
Approached for comment on the judgment, national police spokesman, Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale, said on Sunday they were still studying it.
He was also asked about the cellphone interception investigation, but said he could make enquiries only when he was back at work today.
However, according to Moodley’s family friend, the investigation had been completed and two officers, excluding Moodley, had been charged.
Moodley had also approached the equality court to complain about Mkhwanazi’s alleged reference to “Indian mafia” when speaking at a meeting of crime intelligence officers in March 2012.
Mkhwanazi was acting police commissioner at that time. But that matter had fallen away when Riah Phiyega was appointed national police commissioner.