Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. File Photo: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency(ANA),

JOHANNESBURG - Freedom Under Law (FUL) on Wednesday welcomed the conviction of South Africa's former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli by the Johannesburg high court.

Freedom Under Law chief executive officer Nicole Fritz said it was an important vindication of the rule of law that Mdluli had been held accountable for some of the crimes he committed.

On Tuesday, Mdluli was convicted on charges related to the 1999 kidnapping and assault of his former lover's husband.

Mdluli was found guilty of four counts of intimidation, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of common assault and two counts of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The kidnapping and assault charges were initially withdrawn by Gauteng director of public prosecutions Andrew Chauke. The fraud and corruption charges were withdrawn by former head of the National Prosecuting Authority specialised commercial crime unit, Lawrence Mrwebi.

Fritz said they reviewed the prosecutors’ decisions to drop the charges. Justice Makgoba initially granted Freedom Under Law an urgent order directing that Mdluli stand down from his position pending the determination of a review of that decision.

"While it is unfortunate that the charges of fraud and corruption were not reinstated by the NPA, it is an important vindication of the rule of law that one of South Africa’s most senior police officers has been held accountable for some of the crimes he has committed," said Fritz.

She said it was a cause for reflection that had FUL, one of a group of civil society watchdogs active in this way, not challenged the initial decisions to withdraw the charges, his impunity would have been assured.

African News Agency (ANA)