Johannesburg - Former national crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli looks set to be sentenced to direct imprisonment after being found guilty of a string of counts by a high court.
Mdluli was handed a guilty verdict on Tuesday at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, along with Mthembeni Mthunzi, a fellow former policeman and his accomplice in the love-triangle crimes committed in 1999.
The pair have been in the dock over intimidation, kidnapping and assault crimes they committed against the late Oupa Ramogibe in Vosloorus, East Rand.
Ramogibe had an affair with Mdluli’s customary wife, Tshidi Buthelezi, and secretly married her in 1998. He also eloped with her. Mdluli had paid lobola for Buthelezi and bought a house for her. He had also paid for her studies.
Ramogibe was killed in 1999 in what was believed to be a robbery gone wrong. No one was brought to book for the killing.
On Tuesday, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng found Mdluli guilty of four counts of intimidation, two counts of kidnapping, two of common assault and two of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Mthunzi was found guilty on similar counts, except on those of intimidation.
With the exception of two counts of defeating the ends of justice, “the accused are guilty as charged’’, Judge Mokgoatlheng said.
One day, Mdluli left a message saying that he would find Ramogibe and kill him, according to the evidence before the court.
“Mdluli looked at the time and said: ‘If I don’t find him by 8 o’clock, I will find him and kill him,’” Judge Mokgoatlheng said, reflecting on the evidence he had heard.
“He had eloped with the wife (of Mdluli); that’s why accused had to look for him and Tshidi.”
The judge ruled out the accused’s defence that they did not kidnap Ramogibe but that he had accompanied them voluntarily.
“Why would Oupa Ramogibe volunteer to go with General Mdluli and his cohorts?
‘‘That is improbable - he wasn’t even sleeping at his own house.
“Nobody knew where he was sleeping,” said Judge Mokgoatlheng.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the guilty verdict vindicated its decision to charge Mdluli and Mthunzi many years after their crimes.
“We welcome the fact the court dismissed the defence that there was a conspiracy against the two,” said NPA’s Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.
“We’re glad that we have been vindicated as the State.”