Witness gives new version of events at Mdluli inquest

Richard Mdluli.(David Harrison, M&G)

Richard Mdluli.(David Harrison, M&G)

Ramogibe's ex-girlfriend, Lerato Sebalo, told the Boksburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday she took Mdluli to Ramogibe's parents after he made threats to kill him. 

"I went there because when Mdluli threatened [to kill] Oupa, I said before he could do that, he must first notify his parents," she said.

Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, asked: "So, the purpose of the trip was for Mdluli to inform the parents before he would kill him [Ramogibe]?"

Sebalo agreed, saying she went along to do the introductions, because at the time Mdluli did not know the Ramogibes or where they stayed. Sebalo contradicted evidence given by Ramogibe's mother, Sophia, on Wednesday as Sophia could not recall Sebalo accompanying Mdluli to the house.

Motloung continued to question Sebalo on whether she went to complain to Sophia about her son's relationship with Mdluli's mistress Tsidi Buthelezi. She said she went to tell Sophia about the relationship and Mdluli's threats that he would kill Oupa if he did not leave Buthelezi alone.

"Honestly speaking, before Mdluli came to me I was not aware of the relationship.
Then I requested him [Mdluli] to go to the parents," she said. Sophia earlier told the court that Sebalo told her about her son's marriage to Buthelezi.

The inquest also heard that Oupa was still in a relationship with Sebalo, despite marrying Buthelezi. "I don't recall us breaking up," Sebalo said.

Magistrate Jurg Viviers told her it was a very simple question that required a very simple answer. "Your boyfriend or your man had a relationship and married a woman without you knowing. Are you saying you held on?" he asked.

Sebalo responded: "Yes, I was under the impression he would divorce Tsidi [Buthelezi] and we would get back together."

Motloung asked her to confirm that they had broke up for a while. Sebalo said they never broke up. "Oupa and I never broke up. The reason I moved out was to assist my sister, who was about to give birth," she explained.

Earlier, the inquest heard that Ramogibe and Sebalo were living together in a rented house with their daughter. The inquest heard that Oupa promised to divorce Buthelezi.

She could also not remember warning Sophia to buy a coffin and food because Mdluli said he was going to kill Oupa, as the inquest heard on Wednesday. Sebalo used Sophia's age as an excuse for the contradictions, but Motloung said Sophia was not that old and her versions were also on her initial statements.

The inquest heard that Sebalo went the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to ask for help in raising their daughter because Oupa "was killed by the police".

Motloung asked: "Is it true that if truth be told, you don't know who killed Oupa?" Sebalo agreed, saying she only had suspicions.

The inquest would determine if criminal charges against Mdluli and his accomplices Samuel Dlomo, Col Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, and Lt-Col Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi, should be reinstated.

The charges were provisionally withdrawn in February, pending the outcome of the inquest. The initial charges against them were intimidation, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Earlier, the inquest heard Mdluli wanted to be reimbursed by Oupa for money paid towards Buthelezi's education and lobola.

The inquest was postponed to Friday. – Sapa

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