Mystery audio clip brings Mdluli trial to a halt

2017-02-08 19:07
Richard Mdluli (City Press)

Richard Mdluli (City Press)

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Johannesburg - The trial against former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli and his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi was brought to a halt on Wednesday, when the State said it had a recording of one of the defence’s witnesses.

The recording could discredit Warrant Officer Solomon “Chippa” Mashamaite as a defence witness.

Mashamaite, stationed at the Dawn Park police station on the East Rand, was being cross-examined in the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning.

He told the court that on October 17, 1998 he received a call about an attempted murder in Windmill Park.

When he arrived on the scene, Mashamaite said he found a woman, Alice Manana, bleeding from her upper left breast and holding a cloth to her wound. She claimed she was shot. She could not describe her attackers, but had an idea of who may have been behind the attack. She did not say who.

Manana was a friend of Tshidi Buthelezi, Mdluli’s former lover. Mdluli and Mthunzi are on trial for allegedly intimidating, kidnapping and assaulting Oupa Ramogibe. They have pleaded not guilty.

Mdluli had a long-term relationship with Buthelezi dating from his school days. During her relationship with him, she met Ramogibe and they began a relationship. They married on July 22, 1998.

Between 1997 and 1999, Mdluli allegedly went to extreme lengths to track down Buthelezi and Ramogibe. Mdluli and Mthunzi allegedly intimidated, kidnapped and assaulted Ramogibe. He was shot dead in 1999.

No one was ever convicted of Ramogibe’s murder. Mdluli has been accused of sabotaging the investigation.

Mashamaite told the court on Wednesday that more than 10 years after Manana was shot, a man from the Hawks came to his house and gave him a subpoena instructing him to go to their offices in Johannesburg.

He was taken to a room where prosecutors Deon Barnard and Zaais van Zyl, investigating officer Kobus Roelofse, a coloured man, a black woman called Kholeka, and two white women, were sitting.

Mashamaite said the group questioned him about a statement he took from Manana. He was asked if he knew General Mdluli and how Mdluli was involved in the statement.

“I said ‘no, I don’t understand, please explain?’ That is when the black lady said to me ‘it seems like you are hiding something’.”

'That will be the reason that I am killed'

Mashamaite said the woman began intimidating him, tried to start a fight and threatened to charge him with defeating the ends of justice.

“I was angry to the point where I began to cry. I said to her, because of such questioning, that will be the reason that I am killed and you find my head in one place and my body in another place, because you want me to say certain things.

“Where do you see Richard Mdluli’s name in this?” he asked the group. Prosecutor Barnard tried to calm him down. The meeting ended shortly after that.

On Wednesday, Barnard repeatedly asked Mashamaite whether he wanted to add anything to his version of events. Mashamaite said no.

Barnard asked Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng if he could play a recording of that meeting for Mashamaite.

Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, objected, saying the recording may have been obtained unlawfully as his witness, Mashamaite, was unaware that he was being recorded.

“I am hearing for the first time that there was something that was kept somewhere. Why wasn’t I told?”

Barnard argued that there was no onus on the State to disclose the recording. He did, however, supply the defence with a copy.

Motloung questioned the authenticity of the recording and wanted access to the original. He wanted to know if it had been edited or tampered with and if there were more recordings from other witnesses – specifically Manana, he said.

If the State was not willing to play along, he would bring a formal application, he said.

The matter was postponed to Thursday.

Read more on:    richard mdluli  |  crime

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