Former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)
Former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)

State wants direct imprisonment for Mdluli, Mthunzi

By Bongani Nkosi Time of article published Mar 13, 2020

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Johannesburg - The State has pushed for direct imprisonment of convicted former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and erstwhile colleague Mthembeni Mthunzi. 

Matching up the spirited arguments by defence lawyers for non-custodial sentences, prosecutor Zaais van Zyl went all out on Friday to convince the court that there was ample evidence justifying imprisonment of Mdluli and Mthunzi. 

The prosecutor was arguing in pre-sentencing proceedings, which continued at the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg.

In a judgment delivered in July last year, this court found Mdluli and Mthunzi guilty of two counts of kidnapping, two of common assault and two of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. 

The charges against the former colleagues at Vosloorus police station, East Rand, related to violations they perpetrated against the late Oupa Ramogibe and Alice Manana in 1998.

The State proved its case that Ramogibe was kidnapped and assaulted after he eloped with and secretly entered into civil union Mdluli's customary law wife, the late Tshidi Buthelezi. 

Manana was assaulted, kidnapped from her home in Windmill Park, East Rand, and forced to reveal where the lovebirds hid. 

The convicted former policemen found Buthelezi and Ramogibe in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg.

They were then driven to the Vosloorus police station, where - as the court found - Ramogibe and Manana were assaulted further. 

Mdluli and Mthunzi maintained their innocence despite the guilty verdict. 

Mdluli told the court on Wednesday that his only crime was his resolve to find his wife who had left him with their five-year old child at home under the pretext of going to a stokvel. 

Van Zyl not only dismissed the recommendations by two social workers that Mdluli and Mthunzi should be handed non-custodial sentences, he attacked the submission by advocate Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, that a fine was suitable in this case. 

"We respectfully submit that a fine is not suitable in this matter," said van Zyl, adding that neither were the sentences recommended by social workers and "neither a totally suspended sentence". 

The social workers who compiled a probation report intended to assist the court reach an appropriate sentence recommended house arrest or community service. 

Grounds cited by the social workers included the fact that Mdluli and Mthunzi were now in their 60s and were exemplary parents needed by their children and families.

Van Zyl has argued that there was enough evidence indicating the seriousness of the crimes and warranting direct imprisonment. 

He said the evidence indicated that Mdluli and Mthunzi premeditated their crimes. 

"We respectfully submit that there was lots of planning," said van Zyl. 

"It started with (Mdluli) making an arrangement with (Mthunzi) that he'll go with him after work. Then hours after that there they go. (Mthunzi) takes a police docket with him. There's the planning. They are going to bring Alice Manana with the impression that she's being arrested," van Zyl argued. 

"She was not telling (them) where Tshidi is, so they take her to Vosloorus police station. To do what, one may ask? To go and beat her up."

Van Zyl said Mdluli and Mthunzi had ample time to reconsider their illegal actions, but they proceeded to Orange Farm with Manana. 

"It's a substantial trip. (They have) all the time to reconsider, but they put through. They push through, kidnap Oupa and Tshidi," van Zyl told the court. 

"From there the cars go. Do they drop Oupa and Tshidi home? No, they go to Vosloorus to beat up Oupa. But there also Alice Manana is beaten up." 

Attacking Motloung's argument that if Manana believed she had been kidnapped she would have escaped in Orange Farm when left alone in the car, van Zyl asked: "What could she do, some 40km (to) 50km away from her home? 

"She had already been assaulted. She's been told she's under arrest. She heard a very senior police officer saying this 'bitch must be killed'," said van Zyl. 

The kidnapping and assault on Manana should weigh heavily against Mdluli and Mthunzi, compared to that of Ramogibe who secretly married someone's wife. 

"Oupa is clearly not an angel in this story. But what did Alice do? There's no relationship between her and any of the accused," said van Zyl. 

"Not that we're saying it's okay that Oupa be beaten up, he deserved it."

The proceedings continue.

@BonganiNkosi87

The Star

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