President Zuma must take urgent corrective action and instruct the Minister of Police to re-suspend Richard Mdluli, pending the outcome of investigations after numerous allegations of criminality were levelled against him.
President Zuma also needs to provide South Africa with an urgent explanation as to his involvement in the appointment of Richard Mdluli as head of the Crime Intelligence Unit in the first instance, following the dropping of charges against him by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
As head of the executive, such an important appointment could not have been made without his knowledge.
If the President was in support of his appointment, he must explain why he believed that Richard Mdluli, who has numerous criminal allegations against him, is a fit and proper person to head up such an important crime-fighting division.
If the decision was indeed made without his involvement, and without any discussion by Cabinet - as was announced this past week - then President Zuma has clearly demonstrated he has no control over his own government.
The decision by the Minister of Police, if indeed it was his decision, to reinstate Richard Mdluli as the Head of the Crime Intelligence Unit tarnishes the reputation of South Africa at home and abroad. In a long litany of incursions, this is the most blatant example of a failure by President Zuma to intervene in the best interest of the country.
The serious charges Mdluli faces are of such gravity that, in any other democracy, he would be precluded from such a senior post. Giving Mr Mdluli the sole power to sanction wiretapping is the stuff of espionage and spy novels, not the practice of modern democracy where the separation of powers is clearly delineated.
Mr Zuma's action entrenches the perception that his own political exigencies trump the rule-of-law as the cornerstone of our constitutional democracy. The President should be using the power of his executive office to shine the light of forensic investigation into suspected criminal activity by Mdluli.
Instead, he is presiding over a sinister 'secret state within the state', of which Mdluli stands at the apex.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will not allow this to happen.
I will oversee a number of steps in Parliament to ensure that the Zuma administration is held to account over the appointment of Richard Mdluli. These include the following:
The DA's Shadow Minister for Police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, yesterday put a formal motion to the members of the portfolio committee on police on whether special hearings should be undertaken, in terms of National Assembly Rule 202(1). The DA maintains that the question of Richard Mdluli's reinstatement must be taken up by the Committee in its entirety. It is well within the powers of the committee to undertake such an inquiry as it is equipped in terms of the National Assembly Rule 201(c), to monitor, investigate and enquire into the functioning, organisation, structure, staff and policies of the South African Police Services (SAPS).
Although there was initially some opposition to the request, after extensive debate, there was broad agreement among members that the committee must exercise its oversight functions and call the Minister to appear if necessary. However, no date was set down and no formal commitment was made in this regard. This is not enough. The DA will continue to push for a clear agenda to effectively address this matter.
Dianne Kohler Barnard will put direct questions to the Minister of Police during her Police Budget speech this afternoon, asking for clarity on the reinstatement of Mdluli in light of the numerous criminal allegations against him. Similarly, tomorrow, the DA's Shadow Minister on State Security, Dirk Stubbe, will use his budget speech as an opportunity to address oversight mechanisms over the intelligence services. This provides the executive with the opportunity to provide Parliament with a precise explanation as to the reasons behind the decision to reinstate Mdluli.
I will write to the Speaker to request that a debate be put on the parliamentary agenda as a matter of public importance, as per National Assembly Rule 103, if the Minister of Police fails to answer these key questions relating to the reinstatement of Richard Mdluli during this afternoon's budget vote. It is clear that this appointment, which has resulted in great public outrage, and which directly impacts on a key component of the safety and security infrastructure of the state, must be considered and debated nationally by public representatives of all parties. Anything less will undermine the oversight role of Parliament over the executive.
I have submitted an oral question to be answered by the President in the National Assembly during the question session planned for 22 May 2012. My question to President Zuma will inquire as to whether he took any steps to ensure the reinstatement of Richard Mdluli; whether he was aware of all considerations resulting in his reinstatement; and whether the President has full confidence in his appointment, and his ability to properly fulfil the requirements of his post. President Zuma must provide answers to Parliament on his role in this reinstatement, and his failure to intervene to prevent it from occurring.
The DA's Chief Whip, Watty Watson, will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, to request that a special report into the oversight performance of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence be tabled before Parliament. We will specifically request that the committee report on their oversight over Richard Mdluli's previous conduct, which resulted in his suspension. This request is premised on the Intelligence Services Oversight Act of 1994, which specifies that the committee must report to Parliament on the work they undertake, including their oversight role into the administration, financial management and expenditure of the Intelligence Services.
The DA will write to the Speaker to request that an urgent question be put to Minister of Police Nathi Mtwethwa at the next available question day on 13 June 2012, in motivation of rule 122. Dianne Kohler Barnard will inquire about the decision to reinstate Richard Mdluli, and whether the Minister received any directive from the President to do so.
I will write to the Auditor-General, Terrence Nombembe, to request a meeting with him to discuss the misuse of the Intelligence Fund by Richard Mdluli when he headed Crime Intelligence, and request that he provide Parliament with a report detailing his findings in this regard. The Auditor-General is on record as being deeply concerned as to the standard of governance in South Africa. It is essential that Parliament has all information available to it to ensure that the appointment of Richard Mdluli will not undermine it any further.
The DA will seek legal advice as to whether there is a case to review the suspension of charges by the National Prosecuting Authority against Richard Mdluli, which has been described as a "slam dunk case".
The reinstatement of Richard Mdluli is, on the face of it, yet another attempt by President Zuma to surround himself with loyal friends and cadres. Instead of making decisions in the best interests of all South Africans, it again seems as if he has opted to put his own political interests first.
The time has come for President Zuma to explain, unequivocally, his involvement in the reinstatement of Richard Mdluli, and in doing so, take clear corrective action by re-suspending him.
South Africans deserve better, more decisive leadership from the President. In its clear absence, the DA will use every mechanism available to us in Parliament to ensure that the Zuma administration is held to account for the very serious crisis they have created by re-instating Richard Mdluli.
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance