Johannesburg - Suspended former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli is at the centre of the political battles at the NPA, which have seen prosecutions boss Mxolisi Nxasana iced this week barely 24 hours before he was to forge ahead with the charges against Mdluli.
The Sunday Independent understands that the NPA were pushing to recharge Mdluli with assault and kidnapping, and deliberating over his fraud and corruption charges when the commission of inquiry into the fitness of embattled Nxasana to hold office was announced.
On Saturday President Jacob Zuma announced his decision but said details would be given in due course.
Nxasana had apparently given South Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions Andrew Chauke until Friday to provide him with a date when the summons would be served on Mdluli to appear in the South Gauteng High Court on assault and kidnapping charges.
Chauke had, however, asked Nxasana for an extension until tomorrow.
At the same time Nxasana has appointed a team of senior prosecutors to study the fraud and corruption docket against Mdluli and advise him on whether he should enrol the matter and which charges should be preferred.
Nxasana has given the prosecutors one month to get back to him.
Yesterday, NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube would not comment on the announcement.
Earlier in the week he told The Sunday Independent that the indictment against Mdluli was being prepared as was an application to centralise the charges that fell outside the South Gauteng High Court’s jurisdiction.
He would not provide a date when the summons would be issued.
Nxasana goes on a scheduled leave tomorrow and has appointed Asset Forfeiture Unit head Willie Hofmeyr as acting NDPP.
Zuma is likely to place Nxasana on special leave until the completion of the commission. He will also appoint an acting head.
Nxasana can, however, only be removed by Parliament after the commission of inquiry.
Zuma’s announcement is the latest development in a wave of controversy that has plagued Nxasana since May this year.
On Friday, The New Age reported that Zuma had met Nxasana recently to discuss the NPA boss’s future and at the meeting Zuma reportedly asked him to resign or face being fired.
Both the presidency and the NPA have denied the meeting.
At the end of May it emerged that former justice minister Jeff Radebe approached Nxasana and asked him to resign because his security clearance had been denied.
The denial of his security clearance was based on his failure to declare his involvement in a murder in 1985, which he was later acquitted of.
Media reports have also emerged that Nxasana was convicted of assault – once in 1986 on a girlfriend because he allegedly beat her up. He was also allegedly charged with reckless and negligent driving and resisting arrest and fined R2 000 for misconduct by the law society.
Nxasana has, however, maintained that the the attempts to unseat him are a smear campaign, headed by one of his deputies Nomgcobo Jiba.
Nxasana, the sixth prosecutions head, now goes down the same road as one of his predecessors, Vusi Pikoli.
Pikoli was suspended by then-president Thabo Mbeki, two years into his term, after justice minister at the time Brigitte Mabandla asked him to step down.
Pikoli had refused and maintains he was suspended to protect then-national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, who he was investigating.
After a protracted battle and a commission of inquiry into his fitness for office led by former speaker Frene Ginwala, which found that he should be reinstated, Pikoli walked away, taking a settlement of R7.5 million. Pikoli’s predecessor Bulelani Ngcuka had resigned in 2004 after he was accused of being an apartheid spy – an allegation he was cleared of by the Hefer Commission of Inquiry.
The reopening of charges against Mdluli is based on a Supreme Court of Appeal judgment. The NPA had until the end of June to inform lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL) of its intentions to recharge Mdluli.
FUL had initially approached the North Gauteng High Court to set aside the decisions to withdraw charges of fraud, corruption, murder, kidnapping, intimidation, assault and defeating the ends of justice against Mdluli.
It also wanted to overturn the police’s decision to withdraw disciplinary charges against him and reinstate him as Crime Intelligence head.
The NPA had taken the matter on appeal. In April the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Nxasana must decide which of the 18 criminal charges will be reinstated against Mdluli.
Mdluli, who became head of intelligence in July 2009, first faced criminal charges of murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault and defeating the ends of justice in March 2011 after he was linked to the death of his lover Tshidi Buthelezi’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe.
In May 2011, Mdluli was suspended and four months later, charges of fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering were added to his wrap – linked to his alleged abuse of the Crime Intelligence slush fund.
But by December 2011, the fraud-related criminal charges were withdrawn. The murder related charges were withdrawn by February 2012. An inquest cleared Mdluli of any involvement in Ramogibe’s death.
Mdluli no longer faced disciplinary charges and he was reinstated on March 31, 2012.
Two months later, however, disciplinary charges were reinstated against Mdluli and by the end of May 2012, Mdluli was suspended for a second time.
Mdluli overturned his suspension in the labour court in June 2012 but this decision was set aside. FUL then launched their application.