Ex-intelligence boss Richard Mdluli begs to be spared prison as he's a pensioner and may contract Covid-19
Johannesburg - In his last-ditch effort to convince the judge not to send him to jail, convicted former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli sought to present to court an expert epidemiologist’s report on Covid-19.
This report was expected to detail the risk level, especially among pensioners like Mdluli and his co-accused and former colleague Mthembeni Mthunzi, of contracting the virus in prison.
Mdluli, 62, and Mthunzi, 60, also previously presented their “poor” health conditions to Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng as factors that should fetch them mercy.
The pair were found guilty in July 2019 of two counts of kidnapping, two counts of common assault and two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng found the former Vosloorus Police Station colleagues guilty on charges relating to the kidnapping and assault of the late Oupa Ramogibe, in 1999.
Ramogibe was traced after eloping with and secretly entering into a civil marriage with Mdluli’s customary law wife, the late Tshidi Buthelezi.
Mdluli’s lawyer, Ike Motloung, was due to present the epidemiology report before Judge Mokgoatlheng at the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg on Monday.
But Motloung informed the court the report was not yet available because he had struggled to find an epidemiologist.
He told the court that he, to no avail, communicated with the national Health Department, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the SA Medical Research Council and the Health Professions Council of South Africa, in a bid to find an epidemiologist.
“May the record please show that on July 9, I did send an email to all my colleagues (prosecutor and other defence lawyer) informing them of the problems I was encountering in obtaining the services of an expert, an epidemiologist,” said Motloung.
Motloung undertook to file the expert report by August 13, adding that if it was still not available then the sentencing proceedings could be wrapped up without it.
The non-availability of the report was one of the factors that forced the postponement of the sentencing proceedings on Monday.
Mdluli and Mthunzi were not in court.
Judge Mokgoatlheng heard that Mdluli had been declared unfit by a doctor to attend, while Mthunzi had lost his elder brother.
“There’s a possibility that he may undergo an operation. Can I ask that the warrant (of arrest) be authorised but be kept over until August 27?” Motloung asked.
Mthunzi’s lawyer Sabelo Nobangule said his client asked for a postponement due to a bereavement.
Prosecutor Zaais van Zyl was not opposed to the postponement requests.
Van Zyl added that the matter could not afford more postponements on the next date.
“It would be the third time that this matter was postponed for sentencing,” he said.
Judge Mokgoatlheng postponed the matter to August 27 and 28 - a final postponement.
“The warrant of arrest is issued against accused number two (Mdluli). It is suspended until August 27,” Judge Mokgoatlheng said.