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Cop convicted of assault and kidnap with Mdluli maintains his innocence

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli in the Johannesburg high court in July 2019. Sentencing in his case and that of his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi began on Tuesday.
Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli in the Johannesburg high court in July 2019. Sentencing in his case and that of his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi began on Tuesday.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

Mthembeni Mthunzi, the former policeman who was convicted alongside former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on assault and kidnapping counts last year, maintained his innocence on Tuesday.

Mthunzi took the stand during sentencing proceedings in the high court in Johannesburg. 

Prosecutor Zaais van Zyl had indicated before the court he would argue that Mthunzi be sentenced to a prison term — despite the recommendation by probation officer Mulalo Nemutandani that he be sentenced to a term of correctional supervision.

The two men were last year each convicted on two counts of assault, two counts of kidnapping and two of assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

Mthunzi said despite the court finding him guilty, he had done nothing wrong. “I still maintain my innocence in this case. If ever [the assaults and kidnappings] happened, I was not part of it.”

When asked why he should not be sentenced to a direct prison term, he said his two youngest children were still attending high school.

“My mother is lying on her death bed as we speak,” he added.

Mthunzi asked the court to agree with the probation officer when it came to sentencing him. “I have been running in this court for a long time — that should be taken as a sentence as well.”

Van Zyl questioned Nemutandani on why she recommended correctional supervision. “The victims of the crime are still traumatised. They had to go on witness protection for years. Will that change your recommendation?” he asked.

Nemutandani said it would not.

Van Zyl said the conviction related to a case of assault by a man against a woman — an abuse of power by the policeman. “Does that not change your recommendation to direct imprisonment?” he asked.

Nemutandani maintained her stance and said correctional supervision carries all elements of punishment, including rehabilitation.

“I considered all sentencing options and I think correctional supervision is a suitable option,” she said.

Mdluli's sentencing is expected to begin on Wednesday.


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