The axe has finally fallen on former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli. This week he was found guilty by the high court in Johannesburg of kidnapping and assault.
But the charges — relating to the 1998 kidnapping and assault of Oupa Ramogibe, who had an affair with Mdluli’s customary wife and who Ramogibe secretly married — represent only a snippet of Mdluli’s chequered past, which the media has been scrutinising for two decades.
Mdluli is an alleged ally of former president Jacob Zuma and has been accused of being a key figure in the alleged capture of the criminal justice cluster.
In his capacity as Gauteng deputy provincial police commissioner, Mdluli oversaw the detectives who investigated Zuma’s rape case in 2006.
In 2007, he headed up a fraud and corruption investigation into Gauteng Scorpions head Gerrie Nel. Nel was the chief prosecutor in the case against then police chief Jackie Selebi. Selebi was found guilty of fraud and corruption in 2010 and was sentenced to 15 years in jail. In 2012, forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan accused Mdluli of attempting to torpedo investigations into Selebi.
Nomgcobo Jiba, then the Scorpions prosecutor, was suspended for helping police get the arrest warrant for Nel. In 2009, Mdluli helped Jiba challenge her suspension in the labour court. In her capacity as acting national director of public prosecutions, Jiba had a part in the withdrawal of fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli in 2011. These charges related to abuses of the secret services account, the covert fund used to finance undercover crime intelligence operations.
In 2012, journalism unit amaBhungane obtained a “top secret” Hawks report on the Mdluli investigation. Among the raft of allegations in the report, the Hawks found that safe houses had been rented for the exclusive use of Mdluli and his family.
The Mail & Guardian has previously reported that Zuma openly displayed his support for Mdluli by attending a function he hosted to celebrate the withdrawal of charges.
Mdluli has also been linked to state capture accused and former Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza. Ntlemeza initially investigated the kidnapping and murder allegations against Mdluli. Mdluli was arrested for Ramogibe’s murder in 1999, but in 2012 the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges.
In an affidavit, Independent Police Investigative Directorate investigator Innocent Khuba alleged that in 2013 Ntlemeza put pressure on him to conclude an investigation into then Hawks head Anwa Dramat’s alleged involvement in the unlawful renditions of Zimbabweans in 2010. Khuba said Ntlemeza told him that Mdluli would protect him.
Dramat, who directed the Mdluli investigations and had shown an interest in the docket relating to the abuse of state funds at Nkandla, Zuma’s private residence, was suspended in 2014.
He was re-placed by Ntlemeza.