Top cop takes on Ramphele
FREEDOM Under Law is to fight in the Pretoria High Court today to have charges against embattled police spy boss Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli reinstated.
This comes as Mdluli and his lawyers prepare to challenge his re-suspension in the Labour Court in Johannesburg later this month.
Mdluli's suspension, rescinded on Friday following an urgent court application, was confirmed on Sunday after the state's lawyers successfully challenged the order as "grossly irregular".
Labour Court Judge André van Niekerk yesterday ordered Mdluli's lawyer, Graham Moshoana, and state advocate Mandla Zulu back to court on June 21 when the matter will once again be heard.
Last month, Freedom Under Law sought a court order to have criminal and departmental charges - which were controversially dropped - reinstated.
In a strongly worded affidavit, human rights activist Mamphela Ramphele said the withdrawal of the charges was unconstitutional and unlawful.
In reply, state lawyers argued in papers filed last week that the withdrawal of Mdluli's suspension and subsequent reappointment followed proper labour practices.
Acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwa-nazi argued in his affidavit that there is a "lack of urgency" around Ramphele's application and that neither she nor the lobby group were entitled to seek the order.
Mkhwanazi said he and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa were being asked to contravene labour laws.
"There is due process, the SA Police Service has to follow before it suspends any of its employees.
"What the applicant is asking is that due process provisions of the Constitution, the Labour Relations Act and the Police Act be ignored. I am advised that disciplinary regulations state disciplinary actions against an employee on suspension must be brought within 60 days, failing which the employee must be reinstated ... in this case the period lapsed a long time ago."
He says Ramphele's attitude was that Mdluli was not entitled to protection in terms of the constitution and the country's labour laws.
"Before this application, the SAPS renewed investigations into certain allegations of misconduct against Mdluli ... who was given notice as to why he should not be suspended."
Mkhwanazi said Ramphele's attitude was unreasonable as Mdluli had been suspended again.
In a replying affidavit, Ramphele said the matter was of "considerable urgency".
"It is striking that he [Mkhwanazi] disputes not one of the allegations made by me. There are no grounds to oppose this. In fact, the version reinforces this."
She said Mkhwanazi had however acted with urgency to suspend Mdluli because of allegations of unlawful and improper conduct.
"The degree of urgency is justified in terms of the controversy surrounding the ill-fated reinstatement," she said.
"The urgency sought now is based on the harm caused by the unlawful and unconstitutional decision to withdraw the criminal and departmental charges.
"A person holding such rank with considerable authority ... should not perform a single police function while the body of evidence against him ... goes unanswered."