In April we reported on the continuing efforts of Richard Mdluli, former head of the police crime intelligence division, to fight off prosecution on a range of charges – murder and intimidation, money-laundering and fraud – relating to various incidents that happened during his controversial career.
These incidents include the shooting in 1999 of Oupa Ramogibe, who was married to Mdluli’s former partner. Just months before his death, Ramogibe opened a case of attempted murder, at the Vosloorus police station, where Mdluli was heading the detective branch at the time.
In the High Court, sitting in Palm Ridge, south of Johannesburg, Mdluli has this week been formally charged with, among others, kidnapping, assault and defeating the ends of justice – but not murder. His co-accused is Mthembeni Mtunzi-Omhle Mthunzi, a former police lieutenant-colonel.
Mdluli's case was postponed to 7 October because his lawyer was not present in court.
In September 2013 Judge John Murphy ruled in the Pretoria High Court that various corruption and fraud charges against Mdluli, which had been withdrawn, must be reinstated. Mdluli appealed, but in April the Supreme Court upheld Murphy's judgment. These particular charges are not connected to Ramogibe’s murder, but stem from when he was head of the crime intelligence unit. They involve incidents such as the alleged employment of family and friends as intelligence operatives, and misuse of police funds to buy luxury cars.
A slippery customer
Mdluli has evaded justice for years – in 2009 stories began to emerge that he was linked to Ramogibe’s murder, and in March 2011 a warrant of arrest was issued against him for charges of murder, attempted murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault, grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating and/or obstructing the course of justice. He was granted bail of R20 000 in April 2011, and suspended as crime intelligence head the following month.
In September 2011 the fraud and corruption charges were brought against him, but then withdrawn in December with no reason provided. In February 2012 the National Prosecuting Authority announced that the murder charges would also be withdrawn and an inquest set up, and in March, Mdluli was reinstated.
Two months later he was removed from crime intelligence and transferred to the the office of the deputy national police commissioner for operations, only to be suspended again almost immediately, based on allegations that had emerged during the inquest.
In November 2012 the inquest cleared him of involvement in Ramogibe’s murder.
In May 2013 Corruption Watch and the Social Justice Coalition, who had joined a court bid by Freedom Under Law to have the court review and set aside decisions to stop the criminal and disciplinary charges against Mdluli, withdrew from the case in the interests of ensuring a faster litigation process.
The fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli were reinstated earlier in 2014 after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a September 2013 High Court ruling against them being withdrawn.