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What appeared to be a skeleton in the cupboard for controversial crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, turned out to only be a ghost.
So said Boksburg Magistrate’s Court presiding office, Jurg Viviers, yesterday as he handed down his judgment after the month long inquest which vindicates Mdluli, 54, of any involvement in the murder of his love rival 13 years ago.
In February, charges of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and intimidation were withdrawn against Mdluli and his so-called accomplices Colonel Sebastian Ximba, Warrant Officer Samuel Dhlomo and Lieutenant-Colonel Mtunzi-Omhle Mthunzi pending the outcome of the inquest into Oupa Ramogibe’s murder on February 17, 1999.
Ramogibe had been involved in a relationship with Mdluli’s then fiancée, Tshidi Buthelezi, the pair had secretly wed and ran away to Orange Farm. According to evidence from Ramogibe’s family, Mdluli allegedly told them to find Ramogibe or they would “mourn him”. On one occasion, Mdluli is said to have beaten Ramogibe at Vosloorus police station, threatening that if Ramogibe didn’t stop his affair with Buthelezi, he would “s*** himself”.
At the time, Mdluli was a superintendent at the station and was subsequently accused to have used his colleagues as his henchmen in carrying out Ramogibe’s murder.
Ramogibe was shot dead while attending the pointing out of a crime scene with Dhlomo of his attempted murder in 1998.
The State accused Dhlomo of luring Ramogibe to the scene of his death.
However, yesterday Viviers ruled that Ramogibe’s death was brought about by “an act of prima facie amounting to an offence on the part of unknown persons”.
“There is no evidence on the balance of probabilities implicating Mdluli, Dhlomo, Ximba and Mtunzi in the death of the deceased,” he added.
Furthermore, the magistrate said: “The only way of finding answers [to Ramogibe’s murder] would be with the assistance of the mythical Jacques Agmar and his divine rod.”
Mdluli had maintained from the outset that the charges against him were “cooked up” and were “blue lies” intent on derailing his promotion as head of crime intelligence.
His 1990s love triangle resurfaced in newspaper reports in 2009 just as he was tipped to be the new head of crime intelligence. Mdluli then wrote to Limpopo’s deputy provincial commissioner, Major-General Benny Ntlemeza, to investigate where the allegations and rumours stemmed from.
Ntlemeza’s report concluded that there had been a plot within crime intelligence to stop his promotion.
“The force with which this matter resurfaced is telling. Top ranking officials saw an opportunity… [the case] was marinated with a concoction of facts,” said Viviers confirming that there was indeed a plot to stop Mdluli’s promotion.
Moments after the ruling, Dhlomo walked out of court with his face brimming with laughter and a smile. “I’m very happy now that it’s over and I can move on with my life,” he said, exhaling heavily.
Relief showed on his wife Tshidi’s face too as she said the past year had been very difficult for their family.
“People’s fortunes aren’t the same. I’m just so grateful to God and I think Mdluli will be happy too,” she said.
Mdluli’s lawyer, Ike Motloung, said he was elated over the vindication of his client and was satisfied that the inquest was a more than thorough process.
Pretoria News Weekend