Mdluli's arrest was 'exciting' - top cop

Richard Mdluli (Ahmed Areff, News24)
Richard Mdluli (Ahmed Areff, News24)

Johannesburg - When former crime intelligence boss Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli was arrested it was an "exciting moment in Boksburg".

Brigadier Woolganath 'Biggs' Govender was the branch commander at Dawn Park police station where Mdluli was detained after his arrest.

Govender testified in the Johannesburg High Court on Friday in the case relating to the 1999 kidnapping of the late Oupa Ramogibe‚ who allegedly had an affair with Mdluli's lover, Tshidi Buthelezi.

It was later revealed that Ramogibe and Buthelezi had secretly married.

Mdluli and his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi face charges of intimidation, kidnapping, assault with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm and defeating the ends of justice.

Govender said that at the time of Mdluli's arrest in 2011, Colonel Kobus Roelofse told him that Mdluli was not allowed to have visitors while he was kept in custody.

Mdluli docket

He said he told Roelofse that he could not "tell me [Govender] what to do because I was commander". He said that it was within Mdluli's rights to have visitors.  

Govender dismissed claims that there was a case of assault that was opened against Mdluli. The assault matter was allegedly reported in 1998 by Buthelezi's friend, Alice Manana. Govender said if there was a docket of assault opened against Mdluli, he would have known about it.

He said Joseph Israel, who was working under him, handed him a docket, however the docket didn't have a reference number.

"The docket would never have been booked out if it had [Mdluli] there. I would have taken it to the head office for investigation."

But prosecutor Deon Barnard read out a statement from Israel, that stated that Govender came to him and said he could not investigate the matter because the accused was an officer.

However, Govender said the docket would have been recorded, even if it was closed.  

Last year Govender was promoted to acting head of the organised crime unit of the Hawks in Johannesburg.

Witnesses 'coached'

On Thursday during cross-examination Mdluli claimed that a project was put together to falsely prosecute him.

He said there were senior people who were part of a project, Ulibambe Lingashoni, set up to advance their agenda against him.

Mdluli claims that the operation was intended to "falsely incriminate him and pull him down".

He also said witnesses were found and put in witness protection "in order to coach them to falsely prosecute me".

Mdluli said he paid lobola for Buthelezi and regarded her as his wife.

However, he said he later heard that Buthelezi and Ramogibe had had a "secret marriage".

'I was angry'

He denied allegations that he and his co-accused assaulted, Manana, Buthelezi's friend.

"I never beat Alice. Police even struggled to get a statement from her. They only got it after they went to her house more than three times."

He said he only went to Manana's house to find out about Buthelezi's whereabouts.

Mdluli also told the court that the charges against him had been fabricated.

He told the court that "people were pushing their agenda of a conspiracy against me" and that some officers were tasked to "dig [for] any dirt" against him.

Asked by state prosecutor Advocate Zaais van Zyl about how he felt when he was told that his wife was involved with another man, Mdluli said: "Any reasonable man won't be happy, I was angry. I felt shameful and embarrassed."

Mdluli and Mthunzi allegedly intimidated, kidnapped and assaulted Ramogibe. They have pleaded not guilty. The charges against the pair stem from the alleged extreme lengths that Mdluli went to between 1997 and 1999 to find out where Buthelezi and Ramogibe were hiding.

Sabotage allegations

Mdluli had a long-term relationship with Buthelezi from his school days and claimed she was his wife.

However, during her relationship with Mdluli, Buthelezi met Ramogibe and they began a relationship. They married on July 22, 1998.

Previously Mdluli denied claims that he had kept two dockets implicating him in an attempted murder and a kidnapping case locked in a safe.

The charges were withdrawn and later reinstated.

Ramogibe allegedly received death threats after marrying Mdluli's ex-lover and was told to leave her or he would be killed. He opened an attempted murder case before his death.

Ramogibe was shot and killed and no one had been convicted of his murder. Charges of murder against Mdluli and his co-accused were withdrawn                        

At the time, Mdluli was the station commander at the Vosloorus police station in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, and was accused of sabotaging the investigation.

The case was postponed to Monday.

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