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Reinstating police boss with dodgy reputation is wrong

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2012-03-30 00:44:59.0

The Times Editorial: Police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, mired in murder and fraud charges, has been reinstated to his position.

The announcement, made late on Wednesday evening, was abrupt: that the matter was an internal process and would not be discussed in the public domain.

But while the police and government officials might not want to comment on Mdluli's reinstatement, the matter is being discussed in the public domain, and much of it is highly critical of the move.

Mdluli's reinstatement does not come without speculation - that he is being prepared to take over from his suspended boss, national police commissioner Bheki Cele, who is currently facing an inquiry into his fitness to do his job.

The Mdluli decision and the possibility that he might take up Cele's position are highly out of order. What happened to the notion that the law must take its course - even when it applies to those who are meant to uphold those laws?

The questions about Mdluli's possible criminal involvement have not been sufficiently dispelled even though charges have been dropped against him. That everything has been "cleared up" seems too convenient and neat.

It seems completely far-fetched that President Jacob Zuma could possibly be viewing Mdluli as a successor to Cele. Has the president not learnt from the mistakes of the past and is he not committed - as he has previously stated - to a government that is clean?

Appointing Mdluli would be a monumental mistake, given what has happened to the previous national police commissioners.

Former police boss Jackie Selebi currently languishes in jail, apparently sickly, while serving a sentence for corruption. Cele is facing an inquiry into his involvement with the acquisition of two leased police buildings.

That Cele must be replaced is obvious. But to replace him with a man whose reputation is not above reproach can only be viewed with grave concern and the utmost suspicion.

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