Mdluli inquest riddled with confusion

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Richard Mdluli. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - An inquest into the death of suspended crime boss Richard Mdluli's love rival Oupa Ramogibe 13 years ago was riddled with confusion on Tuesday.

Oupa's mother Sophia was being cross-examined by Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, when she told him she was confused when she made her initial statement, two days after her son's death.

“Is it a prelude? Something you are saying so we can change what you said later,” Motloung asked.

The inquest heard that Sophia made her statement in her mother tongue, but that it was taken down in Afrikaans, which she could not speak and of which she understood little.

Motloung asked Sophia if she knew who killed her son. He charged that she had only suspicions.

“My suspicion is of the person who said he will kill my son,” she replied. “We don't know 1/8who killed him 3/8 because we did not see.”

Motloung asked about the threats Mdluli apparently made when he went to Sophia in search of Oupa, and told her Oupa had run away with his wife.

Asked what Mdluli said when he went to her house looking for her son, Sophia answered: “I will look for him myself and you will mourn for him.”

Motloung asked: “Why mourn? When you said yesterday he would kill him? Is it the same as saying you will mourn for him?”

Sophia responded: “I regard that as the same word.”

Arguing that the inquest needed clarity, Motloung said: “The court will have to determine if a threat was made and we need to know where it was made.” He proceeded to ask if it was the only time Mdluli had threatened Oupa.

Sophia said it was not the first time.

Motloung pointed out that this was not what Sophia's daughter, Justina, had told the inquest on Tuesday morning.

“Your daughter confused us,” he said.

Magistrate Jurg Viviers postponed the inquest to Wednesday for clarity.

Earlier, Justina broke down and asked for a break when attorney Paul Leisher accused her of lying under oath while cross-questioning her.

“Can I ask for a break? I'm feeling sick,” said Justina.

Leisher was questioning her on her statement alleging the police's involvement in her rape a month after her brother's death. The inquest heard Justina was on her way to work when a police vehicle stopped next to her while she was waiting for a taxi.

She said a man got out and told her to get into the back. She could not see his face. She was raped on the back seat before being dropped off.

Two statements on the rape were in the police docket and Leisher was questioning the authenticity of the statements.

Justina said the signature on one of the statements was not hers, and that she had no idea who would forge her signature.

Mdluli had been accused of the murder with Samuel Dlomo, Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, and Lt-Col Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi, but the charge was provisionally withdrawn in February pending the outcome of the inquest.

Also withdrawn were charges of intimidation, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Both Sophia and Justina are in witness protection and appeared in court wearing bulletproof vests.

The inquest continues on Wednesday. - Sapa


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