Tue Sep 26 00:25:56 SAST 2017

Zuma must act against Mdluli

2012-04-15 17:09:36.0 | Sunday World Editorial |

OF the seemingly endless episodes of corruption punctuating our democracy today, the series of controversies rocking the SA Police Service must be most debilitating.

They have unravelled a deeper can of worms in a police force already reeking with damaging allegations of unseemly behaviour involving top policemen.

Needless to say, the after-shocks from the can of worms first opened by the scandal involving former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, now serving a 15-year jail sentence for corruption, still reverberate through the public psyche.

Not least the R1bn police headquarters lease scandal, which prompted the suspension of Selebi's successor General Bheki Cele.

The latest controversy - involving crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, who is earmarked to replace Cele, and his alleged criminal behaviour - has sparked fresh public outrage over rogue activities within the SAPS.

Adding to the intrigue are reports of questionable behaviour against Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, accused of misusing police intelligence funds for a security wall around his home.

Claims of the looting of the R200m police slush fund by some high-ranking officers have persisted for some time.

Most worrisome, though, are claims of political interference in the withdrawal of murder and fraud charges against Mdluli, as well as his reinstatement.

This week's inquest hearings into the murder of the husband of Mdluli's ex-lover have cast a shadow over his return to office and his prospects of being the next police commissioner. They also call into question the wisdom of allowing him to resume duties while a dark cloud hangs over his head.

Noteworthy is the damage caused to the police's image by controversies bedevilling the SAPS, and the government's recalcitrance in reinstating Mdluli.

President Jacob Zuma must not allow the ANC's pre-Mangaung factionalism to develop into a contagion which destabilises the state security apparatus.

He must stem further damage in the public's confidence in the police by suspending Mdluli until the controversy surrounding him clears away.

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