Mdluli trial: Murder victim's ex-girlfriend grilled

2015-06-02 18:08
Richard Mdluli

Richard Mdluli

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Johannesburg - Statements made Oupa Ramogibe's girlfriend 16 years ago at an inquest into his death differed from those made in her testimony this week, the High Court in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday.

Lerato Seballo, Ramogibe's girlfriend in 1997/8, was testifying at the trial of former police crime intelligence boss, Richard Mdluli.

He, with co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi, has pleaded not guilty to charges of intimidation, kidnapping, assault and assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm against Ramogibe.

Seballo had previously told the court she heard Mdluli threaten to kill Ramogibe on several occasions if he did not leave Tshidi Buthelezi, Mdluli's former lover.

On Tuesday, Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, took the court through a statement Seballo had made to police, taken down in Afrikaans, shortly after Ramogibe's death in February 1999. He then compared it to testimony she gave in court on Monday.

"When you testified yesterday [Monday], you told the story how Mdluli arrived [at your house], knocked, remember?" Motloung said.

"Yes I do," Seballo said, her head slightly bowed as she listened to the court interpreter.

'He was not home that day'

On Monday, Seballo told the court that Mdluli, in the company of a younger man, had come to her house in 1997. They asked her where Ramogibe was and she told them he was not there.

She said Mdluli told her that he was looking for Ramogibe because he was in a relationship with his girlfriend.

Motloung said: "I will tell you just for the record, there are two problems with the part [of the Afrikaans statement] I've just read. The first is if it's believed, it means Oupa arrived there whilst Mdluli was still there."

Seballo replied: "No, he did not find Oupa there."

Motloung said: "The second problem is that it [the Afrikaans statement] gives the impression that Mdluli then called Oupa outside and not you as you now testified."

Seballo said: "No, Oupa was not home that day. He was not home that day."

Motloung said there could not be any doubt, given the statement Seballo made to police, that Oupa was at the house when Mdluli was there.

"No, he was not there. I insist he was not there," Seballo said.

Motloung said: "Do you remember, even during the inquest there was even an interpreter who was speaking your language [Tshwana]?"

'You are now denying in this high court'

Seballo said she did remember. Motloung said at the inquest, close to Ramogibe's death, she was given an opportunity to correct the statement, read to her in her home language of Tswana at the time, but did not do so.

"The answer you gave is 'I do agree your worship' and at the bottom of the page there appears your signature," he said.

"The things that you are now saying or some of things you are already read... you are now denying in this high court."

Seballo replied: "It could be that I was agreeing to something that I did not know."

Motloung said: "According to you, the real truth is what you are saying in this court?", to which Seballo agreed.

"But mam, you see when you made that statement [at the inquest] it was approximately a week after the deceased Oupa had died," Motloung said.

'I do remember what happened'

"When you made your statement, about the week after the deceased [Ramogibe] had been killed, do you agree with me that things were and events were much fresher in your mind then [than] they are 17, 18 years later, now?"

Seballo replied: "I do remember what happened 16 years ago, but when he [Mdluli] came for the first time, he did not find the deceased [Ramogibe] at home."

Mdluli was the station commander in Vosloorus, on the East Rand, in the years prior to Ramogibe's death. Mthunzi was a detective there.

Mthunzi faces only seven of the 12 charges. The other charges relate to incidents involving Seballo.

Mdluli also faces a charge of defeating or obstructing the cause of justice.

Earlier, Seballo told the court of Mdluli visiting her on September 2 1998.

Mdluli at the time was in possession of a marriage certificate, which showed Ramogibe and Buthelezi had married. Seballo was not aware of the marriage at the time.

Asked by Motloung how she felt learning of the marriage, Seballo said she was "hurt" by the development.

Seballo and Ramogibe had a child together, and Seballo took care of the child with Ramogibe contributing money towards its care.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng adjourned proceedings until Wednesday morning.

Read more on:    richard mdluli  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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