Crime chief Mdluli in dock for murder
There are indications that he is accused of stifling more than the Ramogibe probe
National head of crime intelligence Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli appeared in the Boksburg Regional Court on Thursday morning alongside Lieutenant-Colonel Omhle Mtunzi (52), court orderly Samuel Dlomo (49) and Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba (38) on charges of murder.
Mdluli, who was the station commissioner at Vosloorus at the time of the alleged offence, has been charged with murdering Oupa Ramogibe in 1999.
The four, each represented by different attorneys, applied for bail, which the state opposed.
The charges against them include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, intimidation, assault, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
Ramogibe allegedly received threats after marrying Mdluli’s former lover and was told to leave her or be killed.
After surviving an earlier attempt on his life, he was shot dead in the company of Dlomo then a Vosloorus policeman, while pointing out the site of the earlier shooting.
No-one has previously been charged in connection with the murder
Mdluli is accused of orchestrating the killing and a subsequent cover-up.
Before the proceedings began, tensions ran high, with family members, police and the press fighting for seats in the tiny court room.
Several armed policemen in plain clothes were in evidence.
Mdluli, who waved to family members when he walked into the courtroom, opted to take the stand while the others submitted affidavits.
He was smartly dressed in a grey jacket and jeans.
From the charges read out by state prosecutor Kholeka Gcaleka—also involved in the failed prosecution of Glenn Agliotti last year—there are indications that Mdluli is accused of stifling more than the Ramogibe murder investigation.
The state alleges that between 1998 and 2010 Mdluli “stopped criminal cases from proceeding against him”.
It is unclear which cases these particular charges relate to, but in his affidavit Ximba claimed that “it is public knowledge that both the post-mortem results and the docket of the [Vosloorus] murder have gone missing”.
The charge of intimidation alluded to Mdluli and his co-accused threatening Ramogibe “to stay away from his [Mdluli’s] girlfriend Tshidi”.
The charges of kidnapping and attempted murder relate to the assault on both Ramogibe and a woman identified as Agnes Manana.
Ximba argued in an affidavit that the state had a “weak case” and there was no evidence linking him to the crime.
Appearing relaxed in the stand, Mdluli laughed when his lawyer, Ike Motloung, asked if he would prefer to be called “general” or “Mr” Mdluli. “You can call me general in court,” he replied.
Mdluli, who turns 53 in May, told the court that before his promotion in 2009 to the post of head of crime intelligence it was known that he might be appointed.
“Those other major-generals who were working there were not happy with that. And then former commissioner Afrika Khumalo appointed two members of crime intelligence to investigate me — to look for whatever they can of any case or anything that they know about me at Vosloorus that was negative, so that they could help stop me being appointed.
“I have a document from which I got that information. And then that story linking me with Oupa appeared in the Sowetan newspaper in 2009.”
Motloung then asked Mdluli, “What has made this ghost come out in 2011?”
Mdluli responded, “I will choose not to divulge that. It is all politics of which, as a trained member of SAPS, having learned how to deal with intelligence, it will be difficult to divulge.”
He said: “The main purpose of this case is that I need to be removed from my position.”
Meanwhile, reporter Nelly Shamase writes that the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday heard allegations of two Serbian assassins being flown into South Africa to kill witnesses in Radovan Krejcir’s case.
Krejcir has applied for bail after being arrested on a charge of insurance fraud.
State prosecutor Riegal du Toit, who has been accompanied by heavily armed police escorts since his name appeared on an alleged hit list found at Krejcir’s home, opposed bail.
He read out a statement by investigating officer Patrick Mbotho to back his plea.
Mbotho said that Krejcir has friends who have supplied him with false passports in the past and that while he had handed himself over to the authorities after a warrant for his arrest was issued, it took him two days to do so.
“He has family abroad and access to funds. This means he has the means to evade trial and can afford to forfeit any bail set,” said Du Toit.
Mbotho claimed Krejcir had already threatened key witnesses.
He said information had been received indicating that Serbian assassins, named as Vesco and Velco, had flown into South Africa to kill Du Toit, Paul O’Sullivan, Cyril Beeka and several others.
Earlier, Krejcir’s advocate, Mike Hellens, said his client was not a flight risk because he had no passport and the charges had been trumped up by Paul O’Sullivan.
Hellens called O’Sullivan a “radical vigilante —who walks with the Hawks”.
Although Krejcir was not called to testify, an affidavit read out by Hellens claimed that he had no knowledge of the false diagnosis allegedly made by his urologist, Marian Tupy, which formed the basis of the R4-million insurance payout.
The Czech fugitive received strong support from his family. In spite of landing in Johannesburg only the day before, his mother Nadezda Krejcirova was all smiles outside the court yesterday in the company of Krecjir’s daughter-in-law, Katarina, and grandson, Dennis.
Krejcirova questioned briefly questioned on her arrival at OR Tambo airport on Wednesday.
The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, supported by M&G Media and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, produced this story. All views are the centre’s. www.amabhungane.co.za.