A fine, not jail, is best punishment for ex-cop Richard Mdluli, says his lawyer
A fine would be an appropriate sentence for former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli after his convictions last year for assault and kidnapping.
This submission was made by Mdluli's attorney, Ike Motloung, during sentencing proceedings of his client and co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi at the high court in Johannesburg on Thursday.
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.
The case relates to the assault of Mdluli's customary wife, Tshidi Buthelezi, and her boyfriend, Oupa Ramogibe, in 1998.
Mthunzi, now 60, accompanied Mdluli to a house in Vosloorus where they also assaulted Alice Manana to force her to reveal where Buthelezi and Ramogibe were.
Manana then accompanied Mthunzi and Mdluli, against her will, to Orange Farm, where Buthelezi and Ramogibe were found. Ramogibe and Buthelezi were then assaulted.
Ramogibe was killed in 1999 and no one was prosecuted for his death. Buthelezi died a few years later of natural causes.
Addressing the court in mitigation of sentence, Motloung said that he was initially inclined to agree with the sentence recommended by probation officer Portia Dabishi Morudi — that of correctional supervision.
But, he said: “It looks like that kind of sentence will be too harsh.”
Motloung said when Dabishi Morudi testified before court on Wednesday, she painted a picture where Mdluli — if he were to serve correctional supervision at a police station where he used to be a commander — would be cleaning the station premises, not wearing suits but in overalls.
“I think that will be too harsh,” Motloung said.
Motloung said no useful purpose would be served by sending Mdluli to prison.
“Revenge, yes, but no other purpose will be served. Direct imprisonment will over-emphasise the retributive effect of sentencing over other factors,” Motloung said.
On the convictions, Motloung said the charges relied on the evidence of a single witness, Manana, and no charges were laid by Buthelezi and Ramogibe.
He said after the assault in 1998, Ramogibe did not lay charges of assault and kidnapping against Mdluli.
“The man is dead. I am sure if he were to wake up, he would be shocked a case was opened for him,” Motloung said.
Motloung asked the court to consider the personal circumstances of Mdluli, including the fact he was retired, that he had served his community for many years and that he was a first offender.
The trial continues.