'We are still afraid of him' - Oupa Ramogibe's family after Richard Mdluli sentencing

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Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli is seen outside the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli is seen outside the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24
  • The family of slain Oupa Ramogibe expressed mixed feelings after the sentencing of Richard Mdluli. 
  • Ramogibe's brother, Mohau, said they continue to live in fear. 
  • Mdluli said he will not engage with the Ramogibe family.

The family of slain Oupa Ramogibe has expressed mixed feelings following the sentencing of former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli and co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi on Tuesday. 

Ramogibe's brother, Mohau, said they welcomed the five-year direct imprisonment handed to Mdluli and Mthunzi in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, but added that they continued to live in fear. 

The family has been through emotional turmoil since 1998, after Ramogibe, his wife and then Mdluli's ex-partner, Tshidi Buthelezi, and her friend Alice Manana were kidnapped and assaulted by Mdluli and Mthunzi, as the court found. 

Ramogibe died after being shot at in 1999, while Buthelezi died of an undisclosed illness. 

"We are happy that the court has finally delivered its judgment and that Mdluli and Mthunzi have been sentenced. We are happy that my mother (Sophie Ramogibe) was present when they were sentenced. 

READ | Ex-Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli sentenced to 5 years in jail for kidnapping, assault

"We hope that from today we will find closure for what happened to us. We are grateful that we will no longer be expected to attend court hearings. Nobody has been held accountable for Oupa's death. 

Mohau said:

Oupa's death is still painful and will never be erased from our minds. We wish that someone will one day be sentenced for his death.

He said, as the family, they were afraid of Mdluli. 

Following Ramogibe's death, the family was placed in police witness protection. 

He added:

We have lived in an area where we have heard many things about him. To date, we are still afraid of him, even though we have all returned home in Vosloorus. Our safety is in the hands of God. Whatever happens to us, it is up to Him. We can't keep on running away from home for the sake of fearing someone. We can't run away forever.

While handing down sentence, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng said the five-year sentence imposed on the two men would serve a purpose of deterrence and retribution.

Mokgoatlheng said the two men had taken, instructed and directed Manana, against her will, to show them where Buthelezi was.

"Manana was assaulted and first taken to the police station after being duped that she was being arrested for kidnapping Buthelezi. 

"Subsequently, the trip went to Sarah Mokgoele, who is Manana's sister, and had given Buthelezi a lift to Orange Farm. Mokgoele was woken up by the accused and two other policemen.  

"They used the symbolism of firearms in invading her house. Manana described their manoeuvre as military," said Mokgoatlheng. 

Mokgoele then pointed out the house where Buthelezi was.  

"Ramogibe was bundled out of a house by four officers. He tried to resist, but it was all in vain. The entourage then headed to Vosloorus police station, where Ramogibe's mother, Sophie Ramogibe, was summoned and fetched by one of the two officers accompanying the accused. 

"At the police station, Manana and Ramogibe were assaulted. Manana was later driven home, around 03:00, after being kept at the police station from 19:00 the previous night.

Ramogibe, his brother and her mother were later released, forcing his mother to walk barefooted. "It is clear that threats were made to the Ramogibes. This is a callous, drastic abuse of power," said Mokgoatlheng.

Speaking to reporters after sentencing procedures had concluded, Mdluli said he would not engage the Ramogibes as he was the victim in the matter.

He said:

In fact, the person who ought to be spoken to is me. I am the victim here, so I don't think there is anything I owe them (Ramogibes) because they said I was involved in the murder case (Ramogibe). That matter (murder inquest) was dealt with by the court and I was cleared.

Mdluli said, like anti-apartheid stalwart and former president Nelson Mandela, he too had been put through an unfair trial.

READ | Richard Mdluli likens himself to Mandela, says he will petition SCA to appeal 5-year jail term

"I am 100% sure that charges against me are trumped up, following my appointment as head of crime intelligence."

He will be challenging the sentence in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

"We are aware that there are lots of gaps, which were not dealt with by [this] court. The only way to go further is to petition the SCA, based on the facts and reasons we have.

"We are aware that we were not supposed to be convicted and sent to prison," he said.

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