Don’t al­low Mzansi to be­come Thugsville

CityPress - - Careers & Voices - Fe­rial Haf­fa­jee

ake a good look at this image. The man in the cen­tre wear­ing the flashy suit is Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Richard Md­luli, the for­mer head of po­lice in­tel­li­gence who re­mains a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer. He is ev­ery bit the thug he looks.

He ap­peared in court this week on a mur­der charge re­lated to a 1999 case of a love ri­val. Why he had to ap­pear with eight heav­ies is any­one’s guess. He is, af­ter all, a dis­graced po­lice of­fi­cer who the high­est court in the land has de­ter­mined should face the charges he has evaded for 15 years. On top of that, se­rial rev­e­la­tions have shown how he al­legedly looted crime in­tel­li­gence funds to live the high life and buy po­lit­i­cal favours.

He al­legedly put his cronies on the po­lice ser­vice’s in­tel­li­gence books, and took him­self and his fam­ily on ex­tended lux­ury hol­i­days.

The men sur­round­ing him in this pic­ture might be some of them.

Don’t even start talk­ing about the cars he en­joyed driv­ing.

Md­luli also penned an in­tel­li­gence re­port warn­ing Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma he had po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies (which politi­cian doesn’t?); and for this, he is be­lieved to en­joy po­lit­i­cal pro­tec­tion and im­punity.

And from the swag, that smirk and the kit of this pho­to­graph, you know Md­luli also be­lieves he has im­mu­nity.

Md­luli’s ma­noeu­vres have been splashed in the me­dia for years. I think peo­ple don’t even read these rev­e­la­tions any longer.

But we shouldn’t stop be­ing in­ter­ested be­cause what this image sym­bol­ises is di­rectly re­lated to your and my level of se­cu­rity.

Po­lice in­tel­li­gence is com­pro­mised and is cur­rently in a bat­tle with small and strug­gling forces of good in the se­cu­rity agen­cies, as our sto­ries re­vealed last week.

My col­league Jac­ques Pauw re­vealed the ex­is­tence of a Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit within the State Se­cu­rity Agency geared to en­rich­ment and fight­ing po­lit­i­cal bat­tles. It has al­legedly done some of Md­luli’s dirty work for him.

If po­lice in­tel­li­gence does not work at an op­ti­mal level, there is no way our crime-fight­ing ser­vices can get a grip on in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated net­works, gangs and sys­tems. If you look at crime sta­tis­tics, it’s as though the po­lice have lost con­trol and are un­able to deal with or­gan­ised crime.

The only rea­son Md­luli was in court this week was be­cause another in­sti­tu­tion is on the ropes.

The em­bat­tled Na­tional Direc­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, Mx­olisi Nx­as­ana, re­in­stated Md­luli’s charges as his at­tack in a war rag­ing at the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA).

A func­tion­ing NPA with vi­tal and tal­ented prose­cu­tors is the back­bone of our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. But the NPA is shat­tered and at war, just like the po­lice’s crime in­tel­li­gence unit. With­out a func­tion­ing NPA, the sys­tem is crum­bling with in­ef­fec­tive pros­e­cu­tions – trans­lat­ing to there of­ten be­ing no rig­or­ous pun­ish­ment for crime.

Read the Daily Sun to see how or­di­nary com­mu­ni­ties have lost faith in a sys­temic re­sponse to crime – not a day goes by with­out a graphic image of street jus­tice re­vealed on its pages. Peo­ple are sim­ply killing sus­pected crim­i­nals; no ques­tions asked.

This can­not be good for our sta­bil­ity and it’s a phe­nom­e­non that can be traced di­rectly to the se­rial in­sta­bil­ity of the NPA.

We have had al­most as many di­rec­tors of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions as we’ve had Bafana coaches.

I hope you read last week’s story on the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit. It re­vealed how trag­i­cally our state se­cu­rity is com­pro­mised.

The unit is al­legedly in ca­hoots with cig­a­rette smugglers, do­ing their dirty work and pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion from de­tec­tion and prose­cu­tion. One of their op­er­a­tives is al­legedly Glenn Agliotti, the con­victed drug dealer who got for­mer na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Jackie Selebi jailed.

There is no greater il­lus­tra­tion that jus­tice has lost her way: for Agliotti, it is busi­ness as usual, while Selebi is home on sick pa­role.

Once a state’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vices are dys­func­tional, sta­bil­ity of the na­tion and its fis­cus is un­der threat. Sig­nif­i­cant parts of the econ­omy can then be crim­i­nalised and run by syn­di­cates. I think that much is al­ready hap­pen­ing here, to our detri­ment.

Our story also re­vealed that a se­nior SA Rev­enue Ser­vice agent, Jo­han van Loggen­berg, might have been stung by Belinda Wal­ters, who is an al­leged spy. And as we all know, if the in­tegrity of the rev­enue ser­vice is blown, we are in big trou­ble. This be­cause its abil­ity to ef­fec­tively col­lect taxes thus far has held South Africa steady over the years.

If mafia net­works and smugglers in­fil­trate in­tel­li­gence (both state and po­lice), the sta­ble tra­jec­tory of pub­lic fi­nance is threat­ened.

That process has now be­gun, as we re­vealed last week. As tax­pay­ers, we should raise the red flag.

So don’t turn that page when you see yet another reve­la­tion about Md­luli or in­deed episode umpteen in the drama that is the NPA.

The po­lice, the courts, the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices and now the rev­enue ser­vice are in­sti­tu­tions un­der threat by crim­i­nal el­e­ments.

We should shout loudly and clearly that this is danger­ous.

PHOTO: COR­NEL VAN HEER­DEN

KOOL AND THE GANG Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Richard Md­luli (cen­tre, in blue suit), the for­mer head of crime in­tel­li­gence, af­ter his court ap­pear­ance in Palm Ridge on charges of kid­nap­ping, as­sault and in­tim­i­da­tion

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