Mdluli saga: Public Protector must probe Police Minister's alleged links to secret service slush fund
Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police
9 April 2012
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will request that the Public Protector's probe into the Mdluli saga be extended to include the alleged involvement of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
According to the City Press the Hawks were investigating claims that almost R200 000 was paid from the South African Police Service (SAPS) Secret Service Account for renovations to Minister Mthethwa’s private residence in KwaZulu-Natal.
The article further revealed that the Hawks also uncovered that the Minister drove a luxury Mercedes-Benz SUV, bought by crime intelligence, during a period of 15 months. The DA has also been informed that once the Minister learned of the investigation, he ordered that the vehicle quickly be returned to SAPS fleet management.
This is in addition to questions raised about Minister Mthethwa's alleged improper involvement in having the Hawks investigation into Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli and its finance head Solly Lazarus terminated and their suspensions lifted. This prompts concerns about the Minister’s actions, which could be seen as attempts to cover up his own involvement.
The DA was refused access to the Auditor-General's reports on the SAPS Secret Service Account last week, having been told that these reports are classified. Minister Mthethwa’s own referral of these allegations to the AG, while laudable, could potentially deny the public the answers we deserve.
The Public Protector, in terms of section 6(4) of the Public Protector Act, is empowered to investigate improper advantage, abuse or unjustifiable exercise of power or unfair, capricious or other improper conduct or undue delay by a person performing a public function.
The Public Protector has confirmed that she will be conducting a preliminary investigation into conduct in the Mdluli saga that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety and/or abuse of power. We will accordingly ask her to extend the scope of this investigation to include the alleged involvement and conduct of Minister Mthethwa.
Serious questions continue to be raised about the alleged involvement and conduct of Minister Mthethwa. The Public Protector must lift the cloak of secrecy over the crime intelligence slush fund and expose the involvement of key police officers and politicians. It is imperative that transparency and accountability prevail.
South Africans deserve an explanation and the Minister’s failure to properly account for his role in these developments should therefore be investigated by the Public Protector.