General’s arrest imminent

2011-03-31 00:00

A WARRANT of arrest has been issued for one of South Africa’s most powerful policemen in connection with a murder that was committed 12 years ago.

Media24’s investigative team can reveal that preparations for head of crime intelligence General Richard Mdluli’s arrest were set in motion on March 18 following a high-level secret meeting between Hawks investigators and prosecutors, including National Prosecuting Authority head Menzi Simelane and the head of the Hawks in Gauteng, Lieutenant-General Shadrack Sibiya.

The murder, on 17 February, 1999, was allegedly the result of a bitter love triangle involving Mdluli, then the station commander of Vosloorus police station on the East Rand, a young woman known only as Tshidi, with whom he had a relationship, and the man she married, Oupa Ramogibe.

Ramogibe, who had survived an earlier attempt on his life, was shot dead as he showed police detectives the spot where gunmen had tried to kill him.

According to evidence gathered by the Hawks, Mdluli had a relationship with Tshidi in 1998 and a son was born. Tshidi later met and married Ramogibe.

According to statements taken from Ramogibe’s family, repeated threats were made that Ramogibe would be killed if he did not leave Tshidi.

Ramogibe and his wife were forced to flee the township, but Ramogibe was later severely assaulted.

A while later Ramogibe was befriended by a policeman. One night the man, nicknamed “Killer”, lent Ramogibe a police vehicle.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on the vehicle as Ramogibe drove home but he escaped unscathed.

On 17 February, 1999, despite his fears that police may have been involved in the attack, Ramogibe accompanied a detective to the scene of the shooting. There he was shot in the “brain, lung and heart”.

In a statement the detective claimed that he and Ramogibe had been approached by two armed men who held them at gunpoint. One of the men suddenly grabbed the detective’s service pistol and shot Ramogibe three times.

The detective fled, leaving Ramogibe’s body behind.

An eyewitness at the scene has now given police investigators a statement that sharply contradicts the detective’s version of events.

According to the witness, three policemen were seen fleeing the scene shortly after the gunshots rang out.

The case docket was subsequently referred to a court for an inquest into Ramogibe’s death to be held, but then disappeared without trace.

Police also have evidence that shortly before his death, Ramogibe was taken from his home by a number of policemen and severely assaulted.

Ramogibe’s aunt, Eunice Ramogibe, told Media24 Investigations this week that at least 14 members of the family were taken away by police on Tuesday last week.

“We are scared as a family because we don’t know what exactly is going on,” she said. “I don’t know whether they are safe or where they are, but they were taken with their belongings.”

Even photographs of Ramogibe were removed from his mother’s home. She said Tshidi had died of an Aids-related disease after she contracted the HIV virus when she was gang-raped.

Repeated calls to cellphone numbers for Ramogibe’s mother Sophia and brother Mohau went to straight to voicemail.

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