Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Gangster State

Justice Malala - 30 April, 2012

Now that the ANC has managed to get rid of Julius Malema, its troublesome youth league president, and his rude sidekick Floyd Shivambu, the party might want to concentrate on something meatier. It might want to ask its president, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, what kind of rotten state he is running in its name.

The ANC sent Zuma to the Union Buildings. In its name, he governs South Africa. He should be accountable to it if he is not accountable to the rest of us, the citizenry.

He should now account to the ANC about why Richard Mdluli, the head of crime intelligence in the SA Police Service, is back at his desk and not in a court of law or behind bars for corruption.

Nothing smacks of corruption in this country as much as the figure of Mdluli, a man who is being mentioned as a possible national police commissioner. Nothing scares me more than the possibility that such a compromised figure stands to assume so much power.

This much we know is true, thanks to the incredibly brave work of journalists at the Mail & Guardian, the Sunday Times and the City Press newspapers. It is worth noting that these journalists would be in jail today if the Protection of Information Act were in operation.

Here is the first thing: within a year of his appointment to the crime intelligence job in 2009, Mdluli appointed seven of his relatives as secret agents. There is no dispute about this. As you read this, seven members of this man's family are drawing salaries from the national cash pile - money that could be used for the poor, the hungry, those who will die of the cold this winter because they have nowhere to sleep.

Instead, as City Press reported last weekend, it is costing the crime intelligence unit R5-million to employ Mdluli's relatives and supply them with luxury cars.

This is not corruption. This is looting. This is the mentality of people who believe they are invincible, that they are protected from on high. If Zuma is not protecting Mdluli, he should suspend and fire the man immediately for just this one piece of absolute corruption.

But there is more to this rot and the depth of it chills me to the bone. Mdluli was not interviewed by police management for the job he holds. He was instead interviewed by four politicians: Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, the then home affairs deputy minister Malusi Gigaba, who is now minister of public enterprises, and former safety and security deputy minister Susan Shabangu, who is now minister of mineral resources.

Mthethwa is a fierce Zuma defender and is actively campaigning for him to be re-elected as ANC president in Mangaung in December. So is Gigaba, who has acted as the main Zuma defender against attacks by Malema's ANC Youth League. You may also be interested to know that Mthethwa appears on one of the lists drawn up by the Zuma crowd to be in the ANC's top six after Mangaung.

Cwele is the man who has been firing intelligence services heads allegedly because they refused to be used to spy for Zuma. In March Moe Shaik left the State Security Agency. SSA director-general Jeff Maqetuka left in December and the head of the domestic branch, Gibson Njenje, left in September. Cwele is now master and commander of Zuma's spy network.

Mdluli's appointment was not just irregular. It was conspiratorial and it is a crime. These ministers should account for why they were on that panel in the first place and why the then acting national police commissioner, Tim Williams, and other police officials were not on the interviewing panel.

Why were four ministers interviewing a policeman? Were they instructed to hire him and dress up the whole thing?

Will they explain? Of course not. How can Mthethwa explain when, according to City Press, the Hawks were investigating claims that almost R200000 was paid from the crime intelligence slush fund for renovations to his house in KwaZulu-Natal? He is implicated in the crimes. He is compromised.

Mdluli was up on charges of murder, kidnapping, assault and intimidation. There were also charges of massive fraud involving the crime intelligence slush fund. The Mail & Guardian has revealed that those charges were dropped despite a letter from the inspector-general of intelligence, Faith Radebe, in March, in which she said that the National Prosecuting Authority should institute criminal charges against Mdluli: "We are of the opinion that the reasons advanced by the NPA in support of the withdrawal of the criminal charges are inaccurate and legally flawed. We therefore recommend that this matter be referred back to the NPA for the institution of the criminal charges."

That has not happened. Instead, Mdluli is in office and is already re-organising the crime intelligence unit so that it has oversight of all security arrangements for all ministers and dignitaries. What does this mean? Each and every one of Zuma's detractors will be under 24-hour surveillance by this compromised spy boss.

Where are the voices of Gwede Mantashe, Kgalema Motlanthe, Cyril Ramaphosa, Trevor Manuel and others when this rot is being perpetrated in their name? Where is the ANC of OR Tambo?

It is silent, quivering in fear of its own "deployee", Jacob Zuma, a man who is running what is now clearly a gangster state.