Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli sentenced to five years in jail

29 September 2020 - 11:59 By Ernest Mabuza
The high court in Johannesburg has sentenced former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli and his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi to a five year jail term each.
The high court in Johannesburg has sentenced former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli and his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi to a five year jail term each.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his former colleague Mthembeni Mthunzi have each been sentenced to five years in prison for an incident which happened more than 20 years ago when they kidnapped Mdluli's customary wife.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng said he had considered all types of sentences to be imposed on the two including a non-custodial sentence, a custodial sentence and victim compensation and a fine.

“We are dealing with two senior policemen who abrogated to themselves powers which police have. These powers were abused to such an extent that the only appropriate sentence in the circumstances is a custodial sentence,” Mokgoatlheng said.

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

The matter 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, 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 and no-one was arrested for his murder.

Buthelezi died a few years later of natural causes.

Mokgoatlheng sentenced the two men to three years each for two counts of kidnapping. The sentences will run concurrently.

On the counts of assault the judge sentenced them to one year jail term for each count, also to run concurrently with the three years of kidnapping counts.

The court also sentenced the two men to two years for two counts of assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

“Effectively you are sentenced to five years in prison,” the judge said.

In sentencing them to a custodial sentence, Mokgoatlheng referred to a case where the high court in Pretoria sentenced former tennis coach Bob Hewitt to a jail term. Hewitt was 75.

Mokgoatlheng said the Supreme Court of Appeal also dismissed Hewitt's appeal against sentence.

Mokgoatlheng quoted from the SCA judgment of 2016, where judge of appeal Mandisa Maya said: “Scrupulous care must be taken not to over-emphasise the appellant’s personal circumstances without balancing those considerations properly against the very serious nature of the crimes committed; the aggravating circumstances and the consequences for the victims and the interests of society”.

Mokgoatlheng said the Mdluli and Mthunzi case was one of those cases where retribution and deterrence were proper purposes of punishment and they must be accorded due weight in any sentence that was imposed.

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