Suspended head of Crime Intelligence Richard Mdluli left the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court a happy man this week after several wins in the first week of the inquest into the decade-old love-triangle murder of his former lover’s husband.
Oupa Ramogibe was allegedly killed after secretly marrying Mdluli’s former lover Tshidi Buthelezi, while she was still romantically involved with the top cop.
The inquest is expected to determine if criminal charges against Mdluli and his accomplices Samuel Dlomo, Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, and Lieutenant Colonel Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi, should be reinstated.
They were charged with intimidation, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. The charges were provisionally withdrawn in February, pending the outcome of the inquest.
But this week Mdluli’s case got two bonuses – his lawyers punched holes in the state’s case proving that there was at least one other person baying for Ramogibe’s blood – and the court threw out the testimony of one of the state’s key witnesses, Alice Manana.
Manana, Buthelezi’s friend, had testified that Mdluli allegedly tried to kill Manana at her home and beat her up when he could not find the couple. Then he tried again, abducting her from her house in Windmill Park.
When he got the information he wanted, Mdluli allegedly took Manana to Orange Farm, where he found the couple.
He allegedly abducted them, and he and his team assaulted them at the Vosloorus police station.
But Magistrate Jurg Viviers ruled that the testimony had no relevance to the inquest.
Earlier in the week, Lerato Seballo, a lover Ramogibe lived with in the early stages of his marriage to Buthelezi, told the inquest that she only became aware of Ramogibe and Buthelezi’s affair after Mdluli had informed her of it and showed her a copy of a marriage certificate.
Seballo testified that she accompanied Mdluli to the Ramogibes to tell the parents of the affair.
Ramogibe married Buthelezi while he was living with Seballo and had a child with her, but failed to tell her about his marriage to Buthelezi.
But on Friday Mdluli’s lawyers showed that there were several other people who had a motive to kill Ramogibe.
In cross examination on Friday, attorney Paul Leisher put it to Seballo: “You could have done anything to Oupa because you were hurting… we have dozens of other people who had a motive to kill Oupa, we even [have] you – with respect, who has a motive – I’m not saying you did it, but you had a motive.”
Leisher said: “There is an ancient expression which says that ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’… you must have been so angry that you could have done anything to him that day, that’s a human reaction.”
Seballo said the thought of killing Ramogibe never crossed her mind because she thought he would divorce Buthelezi and they would resolve their issues and live a normal life.
Seballo said: “Oupa’s affair with Tshidi made me angry. I asked him if the affair was true, but he lied to me… when I confronted him about the marriage certificate, he never answered… he walked out.”
She admitted to still loving him when he left and added that she had not broken up with Ramogibe, but moved out of their rented home to help her sister who was about to give birth.
The lawyer said Ramogibe had lied about many things in his relationship with Seballo, and was prepared to lie to Seballo to protect himself.
Leisher questioned Seballo about what made her think that Mdluli killed Ramogibe.
“I thought it was Mdluli, because he was the one who came forward with the threats,” she replied.
Aside from Seballo, the inquest this week heard from several of Ramogibe’s family members including his mother Sophia and sister Justina.
Sophia told the court that Mdluli had told her they had found Ramogibe, and had asked her to go with him to the police station to fetch him. The mother said she realised he had been assaulted when she arrived at the police station.
Sophia also told the court that Mdluli had hurled insults at Ramogibe, and threatened that if he didn’t leave Tshidi alone, he would “s**t himself”.
Next week, Dlomo, one of Mdluli’s alleged accomplices, will give his evidence.