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DA to pursue special parliamentary hearings on Mdluli despite unilateral rejection by Chair

Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police
6 May 2012

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will continue to pursue its request for subjecting the on-going saga regarding Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli to proper parliamentary scrutiny. The necessity of such hearings is compounded by revelations of a second secret service slush fund and a reported ‘pledge’ by Mdluli to assist President Jacob Zuma and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The DA does not accept the Police Portfolio Committee Chairperson Sindy Chikunga’s unilateral rejection of our request for a special parliamentary hearing as communicated in the media.

While this decision has not yet been communicated to me in writing, the DA maintains that it is not within the powers of the chairperson to unilaterally make such a ruling. We also disagree with the reasons advanced for denying the request which include the assertion that the “committee was not a court of law and so it could not do anything”.

I will accordingly at the next meeting of the portfolio committee put a formal motion to the members on whether special hearings should be undertaken. It is up to the committee in its entirety, as required by National Assembly Rule 202(1), to vote on this matter.

It is well within the powers of the committee to undertake such an inquiry as it is equipped, in terms of National Assembly Rule 201(c), to monitor, investigate and enquire into the functioning, organisation, structure, staff and policies of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The committee, according to section 56 of the Constitution, is also entitled to summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents; and to require any person or institution to report to it.

The DA maintains that this debacle has significant implications both for the credibility of the police and for national security, given Mdluli’s high-ranking position in the intelligence services.

The South African public has for the better part of a year been faced with continuous revelations of how the alleged conduct of Richard Mdluli has damaged a number of key state institutions.
These include the SAPS, the Hawks, the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence and the National Prosecuting Authority.

Too many questions remain unanswered for this matter to not be thoroughly examined by Parliament. The alleged involvement of both Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and President Jacob Zuma is cause for particular concern.

The portfolio committee must take this opportunity to display its commitment to holding the SAPS to account. It must exercise its powers and ensure that the South African public receives a full explanation on the Mdluli saga.