Now he’s out, now he’s in. Wait – he’s out again.
The merry-go-round revolving around SAPS crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli has infuriated MPs, who are calling for strong action in Parliament.
Sindi Chikunga, the ANC MP who chairs the police oversight committee in the National Assembly, said on Sunday: “We can’t have an SAPS at war with itself.”
South Africans deserved answers on what was going on in the police service. Her multi-party committee was due to meet on Tuesday, she said.
Chikunga said on Sunday the committee would discuss the latest developments regarding Mdluli.
After being sidelined by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa pending a probe into political meddling by police generals, Mdluli was suspended by acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwa-nazi.
But in a dramatic move on Friday, he was reinstated – by order of the Johannesburg Labour Court.
Then, on Sunday, he was again suspended when his reinstatement was overturned.
SAPS spokesman Brigadier Lindela Mashigo said last night the original order was obtained under “inexplicable and questionable circumstances”.
“The SAPS has now been vindicated in its belief that General Mdluli should not have been granted such an order.
Mkhwanazi had welcomed the decision as “sound”, he said.
“The legal implication of the court ruling… is that General Mdluli remains suspended from the police,” Mashigo said.
Mdluli’s application was to have been heard on Monday. However, it was brought forward to Friday on the insistence of Mdluli’s lawyers. As a result, there would be no hearing at the Labour Court today “until we hear from General Mdluli’s lawyers”, Mashigo said.
Chikunga said: “We can’t have crime intelligence, nor the police, being run in this manner.
“Something serious is wrong and calls for an explanation.
“It can’t be that we are now in a war, where senior SAPS managers are fighting each other, for whatever reason.
“Questions need to be responded to before the committee. People have a right to know answers, because this is becoming a shenanigan.
“It is undermining people’s confidence in the police.”
DA spokeswoman on police Dianne Kohler Barnard said the order overturning Mdluli’s suspension on Friday was “bizarre”.
She welcomed Sunday’s “common-sense judgment”, which saw Mdluli suspended again – now for the third time.
“The attempt by Mdluli and his legal representatives to undermine and abuse the judiciary has been stopped in its tracks,” she said.
He should be “kept as far away as possible” from SAPS offices “until he has answered all the allegations against him, including murder, fraud and the looting of the R300 million SAPS Secret Fund”.
Kohler Barnard said Mdluli needed to have “his day in court to answer the allegations against him.
“The sooner this saga is brought to an end, the sooner the credibility of the police and crime intelligence can be restored.”
Cope MP Dennis Bloem concurred. He was going to raise the issue in the National Council of Provinces. “It is the security of the country we are dealing with here.”
MPs want to know about progress the Special Investigating Unit has made in probing the SAPS after a proclamation by President Jacob Zuma to do so last year.