Suspended police crime intelligence boss Lt-Gen Richard Mdluli says he is ill and cannot work, because his doctor has booked him off for stress and hypertension and told him he needs rest.
This emerged from an affidavit Mdluli filed in opposition to an urgent application by Freedom Under Law (FUL) for a court order to stop Mdluli from performing any official duties at all, pending the outcome of an application to re-instate criminal and disciplinary charges against him.
The application was heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The twists and turns in the saga of Mdluli – who has been repeatedly suspended and reinstated – were described by counsel for FUL, Vincent Maleka SC, as "a ping-pong game" between Mdluli and the police.
Judge Ephraim Makgoka described it as "a merry-go-round".
"Who knows if that suspension won't be lifted again?" he said.
Counsel for Acting National Police Commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi argued that the application was "academic", as the investigation against Mdluli had been suspended again.
Mdluli on Friday obtained an urgent order in the Labour Court in Johannesburg for his immediate reinstatement under what was described as suspicious circumstances.
Mkhwanazi in turn on Sunday obtained an order to overturn the ruling, but the issue will be back in the labour court on June 21.
FUL intends approaching the court for an order to set aside decisions by the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the national police commissioner to withdraw criminal and disciplinary charges against Mdluli.
Mdluli was reinstated in March this year after allegations that a group of his senior colleagues were involved in a conspiracy to oust him, although he was suspended again last month.
Mdluli, who was appointed as the head of Crime Intelligence in 2009, was initially charged with murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault and defeating the ends of justice in March 2011.
This was followed by charges of fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering in September 2011.
The fraud and related charges were however withdrawn in December last year and the murder and related charges in February this year, followed by the withdrawal of disciplinary charges against him.
Maleka, for FUL, argued that a senior officer facing such serious charges showed that he was clearly not the type of person who was able to perform his duties.
Referring to Mdluli's insistence that he was ill, Maleka said it was in any event clear that Mdluli would not be able to carry out his duties, which were clearly stressful.
Judge Makgoba said, amidst laughter, it appeared that giving Mdluli a rest "might be better".
Maleka said Mdluli's serious allegations of a conspiracy also made it unwise for him to work with the very same colleagues he was accusing.
Counsel for the acting police commissioner, Mandla Zulu, made it clear that the police did not want to reinstate Mdluli at this stage and believed he should remain on suspension.
He however said it was not for the court, FUL or any other organisation to interfere in the police commissioner's execution of his duties.
He argued that FUL's application was totally unnecessary, that there was no basis to distrust the acting commissioner and that it was not for the court to usurp his functions.
The application continues.