Richard Mdluli sentence a vindication of the rule of law: Freedom Under Law
The sentencing of former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli is an important vindication of the rule of law because one of the country's most senior police officers has finally been held accountable for some of his crimes.
Freedom Under Law said this in response to the sentence imposed on Tuesday by the high court in Johannesburg against Mdluli and his former colleague, Mthembeni Mthunzi. They were sentenced to an effective five years' imprisonment each for kidnapping, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assault.
The matter relates to the assault of Mdluli's customary wife, Tshidi Buthelezi, and her boyfriend, Oupa Ramogibe, in 1998.
Mthunzi accompanied Mdluli to a house in Vosloorus where they also assaulted Alice Manana, forcing her to reveal the whereabouts of Buthelezi and Ramogibe. Manana then accompanied Mthunzi and Mdluli to Orange Farm, where Buthelezi and Ramogibe were found. Ramogibe was then assaulted.
Reacting to the sentence, Freedom Under Law said had it not challenged the decision to withdraw charges and keep Mdluli at his desk, his impunity would have been assured.
Mdluli occupied a crucial post
The organisation said Mdluli's conviction and sentencing followed legal challenges over several years against decisions which would have kept Mdluli in his crucial post.
It said the charges against him — with other charges of fraud and corruption — had initially been withdrawn by prosecutors Andrew Chauke and Nomgcobo Jiba.
The watchdog said Pretoria high court Judge Ephraim Makgoba had in 2012 granted it an urgent order directing that Mdluli stand down from his position pending the determination of a review of the decision to withdraw charges.
“In doing so, the court stressed that a constitutional democracy could not tolerate a situation in which one of the country’s key crime fighters continued to perform his daily functions while himself facing serious allegations of criminality.
“That Mdluli had not been finally convicted of these grave crimes was not the issue,” said Freedom Under Law CEO Nicole Fritz.
She said in due course, Freedom Under Law’s review of the prosecutors’ decision to withdraw charges was also upheld.
Fritz said Mdluli’s trial for the kidnapping and assault charges ensued, and has extended over a long time, culminating in Tuesday's sentencing.
Fritz said in November, Mdluli will appear in the Pretoria high court to finally face charges of fraud and corruption related to the crime intelligence slush fund.