Johannesburg - Witnesses in the inquest into the death of suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli's love rival were unreliable, the Boksburg Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.
“Nobody can be relied upon. That's the problem this court has,” Paul Leisher, for one of the accused, said while cross-examining Ntsekiseng Ramogibe-Mbuyisa.
Leisher was questioning her about contradictions in a statement she made in 1999, and another in 2010, about the death of her brother Oupa Ramogibe.
Leisher asked Ramogibe-Mbuyisa to explain how the policeman who took down her first statement left out information about threats made, and the relationship between Ramogibe and other police officers.
“So, the policeman who wrote the (first) statement deliberately left out information?” he asked.
To which Ramogibe-Mbuyisa responded: “I think so.”
He asked her if she pointed this out to him when he read the statement back to her.
The inquest heard that the statement was not read back to Ramogibe-Mbuyisa, so she could not have pointed the problem out.
“That is how we play with people's lives in this country,” Leisher said.
The inquest will determine whether criminal charges provisionally withdrawn against Mdluli, Samuel Dlomo, Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, and Lt-Col Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi, in February should be reinstated. The charges were intimidation, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Leisher, for Ximba, asked Ramogibe-Mbuyisa when she had gone into witness protection and how it was that the family felt safe before, but feared for their lives only 10 years after the death.
“I wish to place the demeanour of the witness on the record: How she sits here nonchalant as she plays with people's lives,” Leisher said.
When the State pointed out that it had been a long day, Leisher apologised and continued to question Ramogibe-Mbuyisa, asking whether anyone really knew who had killed her brother.
She responded: “No one knew, because the police failed to investigate.”
Leisher asked: “Your family then sat down and discussed in length and detail the circumstances surrounding the death?”
Ramogibe-Mbuyisa told the inquest the family had never stopped talking about the death. She denied they had pieced together the evidence of other witnesses.
According to earlier testimony, Mdluli accompanied Ramogibe-Mbuyisa's mother, Sophia, to her house, where he told them he was looking for Oupa.
“ 1/8W 3/8e were scared of that man... we never slept that night,” she said in tears.
Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, asked why neither of her statements contained this information.
Ramogibe-Mbuyisa replied: “I don't know, I mentioned it to the police officer.”
Motloung submitted that the Ramogibe family and their “co-conspirators” came up with a version to implicate Mdluli and the officers after 2010.
The inquest continues on Tuesday. - Sapa