Court quiet before Mdluli appearance
Johannesburg - In contrast to suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli's previous appearance, the Boksburg Magistrate's Court was quiet on Friday with hardly any police or media in sight.
Mdluli and three co-accused face a range of charges, including murder, for the 1999 killing of Oupa Ramogibe, reportedly the husband of Mdluli's former lover.
During their four-day bail hearing in April, court officials battled to control the crowds.
At one stage, a police officer even raised his firearm inside the court room.
To counter any repeat behaviour, journalists on Friday were expected to sign an attendance register in order to cover proceedings.
In April Mdluli submitted that the charges were trumped up as there was a conspiracy against him by top police officials who were trying to derail his appointment.
The lieutenant-general, one rank below police commissioner General Bheki Cele, denied involvement in the murder of his ex-lover's husband, and argued that there was a plot by former president Thabo Mbeki's camp to take over crime intelligence ahead of the ANC's elective conference in 2012.
The defence questioned why the charges were only brought against them some 12 years after the crime, and submitted that the State had no forensic or ballistic evidence, and that its case was based on suspicion.
The State contended that charges did exist in 1999 but because Mdluli was in charge of the unit investigating the matter, he exercised his "considerable" influence to make it disappear.
Mdluli and his co-accused - court orderly Samuel Dlomo, Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba, and Lieutenant-Colonel Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi - are charged with intimidation, three counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.