Witness in Mdluli trial suggests state tampered with evidence

10 February 2017 - 09:43
By Naledi Shange

A witness testifying in the defence of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli will on Friday take the stand again.

Warrant Officer Solomon Mashamaite has made damning accusations against the prosecutors and investigating officer in Mdluli’s case.

Giving testimony on Thursday‚ Mashamaite expanded on his version of how the prosecution team had tampered with an audio record of a consultation he had with them back in 2011.

He suggested that during that consultation‚ a woman by the name of Kholeka wanted to coerce him into implicating Mdluli in an attempted murder case which he handled in the 1990s.

Kholeka Gcaleka was at the time also a prosecutor in the Mdluli matter.

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Initially‚ Mashamaite had told the court that during the consultation‚ he “was so angry to the point where he cried”. He claimed to have told Kholeka she had wanted to get him mutilated for saying certain things.

Mashamaite’s crying episode and the intimidation scenario was not heard on the recording.

When questioned on this‚ Mashamaite dug deeper into other aspects which were missing from the recording.

“There were things that Kholeka was saying in Xhosa. There were things that she was not speaking in English. She was trying to ensure that the others do not hear what she was saying. These were things which were directed to me‚” Mashamaite said.

He claimed that when he broke down‚ he was consoled by prosecutor Deon Barnard‚ who also tried to calm Kholeka down.

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Barnard was cross-examining Mashamaite on Thursday.

Asked exactly what Kholeka had said to make him break‚ Mashamaite said: “She said something along the lines of‚ do you know me? It seemed to be a threatening tone. She said she would open a case against me. She looked angry when she was saying this.”

Barnard seemingly suggested that he did not recall any of this.

What was heard on the recording‚ however‚ was Mashamaite telling Kholeka that “she took things personally and her tone scared him”.

Mashamaite had also told the court that he did not know that the consultation had been recorded but Barnard questioned him on whether he had not noticed the microphone which was placed in front of him. He said no.

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The 46-minute long recording was played to the court twice as Judge Rata Mokgoatlheng wanted to hear whether he could “make out whether there is a sequence in the discussions”.

While there were pauses and clicks in between‚ the conversation seemed to flow in chronological order.

Ike Motloung‚ for Mdluli‚ however‚ has suggested that the existence of the recording is evidence of criminal actions taken by the state.

He has disputed the authenticity of the tape‚ arguing that it would most probably not be easy to detect by ear whether the record had been tampered with.

Mashamaite is the second witness to take the stand and make claims that he was intimidated into falsely accusing Mdluli of crimes he did not commit.

Earlier this week‚ another officer testified that he had been offered a house on the beach‚ a vehicle and hard cash if he implicated Mdluli in crimes he was suspected to have been behind.

The witness claimed to have turned down the offer.

The testimony of both these witnesses supports claims by Mdluli that there had been a huge conspiracy plot by high-ranking police officers and the Hawks to stop him from progressing in his career.

Mdluli and his co-accused‚ Mthembeni Mthunzi‚ face charges of kidnapping‚ assault‚ intimidation and defeating the ends of justice.

All this relates to incidents which allegedly happened in the 1990s.

The pair are accused of having had terrorised family and friends of Tshidi Buthelezi and Oupa Ramogibe.

Buthelezi was Mdluli’s customary wife who‚ however‚ got into a relationship with Ramogibe.

Ramogibe and Buthelezi later married in secret.

He was shot dead in February 1999 after receiving death threats and being shot in the shoulder several weeks earlier.

An inquest cleared Mdluli of the murder but Ramogibe’s relatives and friends claim Mdluli had gone to extremes in his bid to separate him from Buthelezi.

Both Mdluli and Mthunzi have pleaded not guilty to the charges.



– TMG Digital