'I am asking for mercy from the court' - Richard Mdluli pleads at sentencing hearing

Richard Mdluli. (Cornel van Heerden)
Richard Mdluli. (Cornel van Heerden)

"I am asking for mercy from the court, to feel for me and my children."

These were the words of convicted former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, who pleaded with Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng on Wednesday for sympathy when delivering his sentence.

Despite intending to appeal both his conviction and upcoming sentence, Mdluli asked the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday to consider his personal circumstances.

Mdluli also told the court that he and his former colleague Mthembeni Mthunzi were wrongfully convicted for assaulting and kidnapping Oupa Ramogibe.

Ramogibe was the husband of Tshidi Buthelezi, who had previously been Mdluli's lover. 

Buthelezi died from an illness while Ramogibe was gunned down in 1999.

Trumped up charges

"I am not making myself a saint. I have never lifted a hand to any woman. My wife and children can attest to that," Mdluli said.

"I know you have found me guilty and I have indicated what I am doing for my children and extended family.

"I don't want to say the State has an agenda against me. The prosecutor might have reasons why he wants to take me to jail. I am asking for mercy from the court, to feel for me and my children."

Earlier he told the court that the charges against him were trumped up after he was promoted to head the crime intelligence division.

"Why was the case not opened then, in 1998, and it was only opened in 2010?" he asked.

He said his young children in Cape Town and extended family were all financially dependent on him.

"Raising kids is not only about money. There are many things that need to be taken care of when raising your children. Most of the time, I take them to and from their school in Cape Town daily, attend parents' meetings and all school activities.

"I grew up in a situation where my mother did her all to put food on the table. I will never neglect my children because I know how I grew up. As a man on pension, I don't only depend on what comes from my pension payout because it doesn't cover everything needed.

"I must do extra things to ensure that we maintain the same lifestyle. My eldest children, who are not working, I also cater for them," Mdluli said.

READ | Richard Mdluli: Social worker recommends house arrest

He said he has never been to prison but was detained for 21 days at a police station before being granted bail on the matter he has been convicted of.

"I only visited prison when I was doing my work carrying dockets. In prison, I will be limited in terms of medicines. There are procedures there if you need medication," said Mdluli.

"I have a pain in my right shoulder which attacks me at night, and I am worried that if I am kept in prison that pain will kill me. There is no specific warder who will take care of me while I'm there. I will one day wake up dead in my cell.

"This is like being sent to die in prison, and my children will suffer growing up without a father like I did."

Mdluli was found guilty on four counts of intimidation, two counts of kidnapping, two of common assault and two of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in July 2019. 

Mthunzi was found guilty on two counts of kidnapping, two of common assault and two of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

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