It took police 12 years to take a statement from a senior officer who found two dockets implicating former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli in kidnapping and murder cases, a court heard on Tuesday.
Mdluli is currently on trial on charges relating to the murder of love rival Oupa Ramogibe 17 years ago in 1999. Other charges brought against him include intimidation, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice. Mdluli claims the charges are part of a conspiracy against him.
Mdluli was appointed as the head of the police’s crime intelligence division in 2009. Two years later in 2011, he was suspended after he was charged for the murder of Ramogibe. In September that year, Mdluli was charged separately for fraud and corruption relating to his alleged abuse of crime intelligence’s secret service account.
Retired Lieutenant-Colonel Christo de Goede told the court on Tuesday that he had found the Mdluli two dockets in a locked safe in 1999. It was in Mdluli’s office at the Vosloorus police station, De Goede told the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge.
He was testifying in the trial of Mdluli and co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi on charges of intimidation, kidnapping, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. They have both pleaded not guilty.
De Goede had just taken over as acting commander of the police station, after Mdluli was transferred to George.
He took the dockets to a director in the police’s regional headquarters in Germiston, who told him to pursue the matter. De Goede refused, telling the court it would have been career suicide.
De Goede retired in 2010, after 48 years of service.
That was the last he heard of the matter, until a Colonel Martinus Botha called him in 2011, asking him to meet then-Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya and make a statement.
“He asked me if I still recall the story about the dockets I found in Vosloorus. He asked if I was prepared to speak to a general at the Hawks. I said yes.”
On March 31, 2011, an officer picked De Goede up from his home at 11:30 to meet Sibiya at the Hawks’ offices in Randfontein.
“I sat until 17:30pm and no one spoke to me. I was very annoyed. Eventually, when he arrived, he was more interested in his pap and chicken than in speaking to me,” De Goede – who was still visibly annoyed about the matter – told the court.
‘I got angry and left immediately’
Mdluli’s lawyer, Ike Motloung, told the court that Mdluli had been arrested on the same day and that Sibiya was involved in the operation.
However, De Goede said his appointment with Sibiya had been scheduled before the arrest was set to take place.
“When the general did eventually arrive there, he was more interested in eating his pap and chicken than speaking to me.
“I told him, ‘jy fokken mors my tyd’ [you are wasting my fucking time]. That’s what I told him.”
Sibiya, who was still eating, directed De Goede to his two female colleagues, who began asking him why he had come to see Sibiya to get details. “I got angry and left immediately. I told Botha to take me home or else I would call my wife to come get me.”
When he was asked to return the following day, De Goede told the court he had refused. Two officers came to his home on April 5 to take a statement.
Based on the contents of the dockets, De Goede said he deduced that Mdluli was a suspect in two cases. He said a man had been taken from Orange Farm to Dawn Park where he was assaulted and shot at. The man appeared to have had an affair with Mdluli’s wife, De Goede told the court.
The charges against Mdluli and Mthunzi stem from the extreme lengths Mdluli allegedly went to between 1997 and 1999 to find out where Tshidi Buthelezi and her husband Oupa Ramogibe were hiding.
Mdluli had a long-term relationship with Buthelezi from his school days and claimed she was his wife.
However, during her relationship with Mdluli, Buthelezi met Ramogibe and they began a relationship. They married on July 22, 1998. – News24 (Edited by Michelle Solomon)