Richard Mdluli's marriage under the spotlight
The relationship between former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his late customary wife‚ Tshidi Buthelezi‚ came under the spotlight on Monday in the South Gauteng High Court.
Under cross-examination by the State‚ Mdluli’s father-in-law Boy Johnson Buthelezi revealed that he was “very happy” about the relationship.
Prosecutor Zaais van Zyl disagreed.
“But the information is you went to meet with the Vosloorus commander to complain [about Mdluli being in a relationship with her daughter]?” said van Zyl.
Mdluli was a police officer stationed in Vosloorus at the time.
“This was long ago‚ around 1986 when she was still in school‚” said van Zyl.
Buthelezi’s daughter was 16 at the time.
“If I were to answer on that‚ every parent‚ when your child is in a relationship with a certain person‚ you want to know about that person.
“But I had to accept Mdluli when my daughter got pregnant‚” Buthelezi said.
Tshidi gave birth to a still-born baby and later went on to have another child with Mdluli.
Buthelezi believed the relationship between his daughter and Mdluli was a healthy one.
“It was a good relationship. I wouldn’t have agreed for Mdluli to stay with my daughter if I felt she wouldn’t have been take care of‚” he added.
Mdluli is on trial alongside Mthembeni Mthunzi following allegations that they intimidated‚ assaulted and even kidnapped friends of Tshidi and her lover‚ Oupa Ramogibe‚ who she later secretly married.
They also face charges of defeating the ends of justice.
Ramogibe was shot dead on February 17‚ 1999 in the company of police as he went with them to point out the scene of where he had been shot several weeks earlier as he was walking in Vosloorus.
Police claimed that they had been ambushed at the scene and Ramogibe was killed.
An inquest cleared Mdluli of any involvement.
Van Zyl questioned Buthelezi on whether he had ever heard of his daughter’s relationship with Ramogibe.
“Yes‚ I heard about it from Tumelo [Tshidi’s sibling]. I heard there was a taxi driver who was in love with her‚” he said.
But he claimed to have known nothing about his daughter’s marriage to Ramogibe until she died in 2003.
“[My ex-wife] had difficulty getting funds from Tshidi’s work after her death. That’s when I heard that Oupa was married to Tshidi‚” the 74-year-old man told the court.
Buthelezi claimed that at one point‚ Mdluli came to discuss the affair with him but he never had the chance to address the matter with his daughter as she was in and out of hospital before her death.
He said his daughter never left the home she shared with Mdluli except for when she was ill and was either in hospital or with him or his estranged wife who took care of her during her illness.
Despite allegations of the affair‚ Buthelezi maintained the Mdluli marriage was a happy one.
Asked about Tshidi’s state of health in 1998 and 1999‚ Buthelezi said “she was 100% healthy“.
This was reportedly the time when the affair occurred.
Buthelezi claimed he had never met Ramogibe or his family.
He instead claimed that the Hawks accused him of protecting Mdluli and wanted to subject him to a lie detector test.
Meanwhile‚ Mdluli and his co-accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mdluli claimed that this was all part of a ploy to block him from advancing to a police commissioner position.
He has alleged that the police had coached witnesses to give false information with him.