JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Richard Mdluli, the South African crime intelligence boss who faced serious allegations of wrongdoing, has been reassigned to another position, but not suspended.
Mdluli has been "shifted" to a different department, police minister Nathi Mthethwa announced Wednesday amid growing pressure on the African National Congress-led government.
But Mthethwa, fueling the controversy, said the reason for the move was not the allegations that implicate Mdluli in misusing slush funds and hiring relatives, but rather the claims made by Mdluli that senior police officers were plotting against him.
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The failure to suspend Mdluli, or to acknowledge the allegations against him, has caused a firestorm of criticism in South Africa. There is growing anger and frustration here over police corruption and the controversial appointments of top officials under President Jacob Zuma.
Mdluli, said to be a close ally of Zuma, has alleged that there is a conspiracy in the top echelons of the police force to get rid of him, in the political jostling ahead of an ANC leadership convention in December.
The opposition Democratic Alliance called for Mdluli to be suspended, describing his reassignment as “a deckchair shifted on the Titanic," the Mail and Guardian reported.
Reverend Frank Chikane, former director-general of the presidency under Thabo Mbeki, said South Africa's democracy is in trouble because of leaders with strong links to crime syndicates.
"If you read articles in the weekend newspapers about [former head of police crime intelligence Lieutenant General Richard] Mdluli, you can see that we are in trouble," the Sowetan newspaper quoted Chikane as saying.
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