Richard Mdluli to spend first night in jail as court dismisses his bid to appeal

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli was due to immediately start serving his five-year jail term after being sentenced by the high court in Johannesburg on Tuesday. File photo.
Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli was due to immediately start serving his five-year jail term after being sentenced by the high court in Johannesburg on Tuesday. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli will spend his first night in jail on Tuesday after being sentenced to a five-year prison term.

Mdluli was convicted of kidnapping, assault and assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

After the Johannesburg high court sentenced Mdluli and former colleague Mthembeni Mthunzi on Tuesday, following their convictions for crimes they committed more than 20 years ago, they applied for leave to appeal.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng denied their application for leave to appeal on Tuesday afternoon. This meant the pair would start serving their sentences immediately after the dismissal of their application.

'I will apply for bail'

Before Mdluli left the court to start serving his sentence, he indicated he would petition the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

“I have every right to go to any court. We will petition the SCA,” Mdluli said.

Mdluli said he will also apply for bail while waiting for the decision of the SCA.

When sentencing Mdluli and Mthunzi, Mokgoatlheng dismissed their plea to be sentenced to a non-custodial sentence.

In 2019, Mdluli and Mthunzi were both convicted on two counts of assault, two counts of kidnapping and two of assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

The case relates to the assault of Mdluli's customary wife, Tshidi Buthelezi, and her boyfriend, Oupa Ramogibe, in 1998.

Mthunzi had accompanied Mdluli to a house in Vosloorus where they also assaulted Alice Manana, forcing her to reveal the whereabouts of Buthelezi and Ramogibe.

Manana then accompanied Mthunzi and Mdluli to Orange Farm, where Buthelezi and Ramogibe were found. Ramogibe was then assaulted.

Ramogibe was murdered in 1999. No-one was arrested for his murder.

Buthelezi died a few years later of natural causes.

Satisfying to see justice done

Reacting to the judgment, the DA said it was an indictment on the criminal justice system that Mdluli was allowed to escape liability for so long.

“That being said, the prosecution in this matter has done a sterling job in presenting a case that relied on evidence that was so old,” said DA shadow minister of justice and correctional services Glynnis Breytenbach.

She said Mdluli nearly got away with his criminal abuse of power, and it was satisfying to see justice finally being done.

Breytenbach said Mdluli still faced charges in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court for alleged fraud and theft relating to the abuse of the crime intelligence slush fund.

“Finally the chickens are coming home to roost for Richard Mdluli, who rather pathetically claims to be too old and vulnerable to serve a term of imprisonment.

“This is not a courtesy he extended to his victims, and it is time for him to get his just desserts,” Breytenbach said.

Praise for Freedom Under Law

She said the successful prosecution demonstrated the important role civil society can play in demanding accountability.

Breytenbach said Freedom Under Law, the main driver of the pressure applied in a series of legal challenges, must be acknowledged for the enormous role it played in forcing the National Prosecuting Authority to do its job.

“Without this pressure, Mdluli would have continued to act with impunity,” Breytenbach said.

She said the direct custodial sentence imposed on Mdluli and Mthunzi confirmed courts will not tolerate the lawlessness that pervaded society.

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