Thursday, March 31, 2011

Family Protected as Net Closes on Top Cop

Family protected as net closes on top cop....


Johannesburg - A warrant of arrest has been issued for one of South Africa's most powerful policemen in connection with a murder that was committed 12 years ago.

General Richard Mdluli, the controversial national head of police crime intelligence and the former deputy Gauteng provincial commissioner, is expected to face a battery of charges when he appears in court.

Charges being considered by prosecutors include murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, intimidation and defeating the course of justice.

Three sources close to the investigation on Wednesday confirmed that the warrant had been issued. The 1999 case was reopened recently, but the original case docket disappeared more than a decade ago.

Media24 Investigations has been told that up to 14 members of the murder victim's family and other witnesses were hurriedly moved into a witness protection programme last week amid fears for their safety.

Sources have hinted at the possiblity that the warrant of arrest for Mdluli is part of a campaign to purge the top echelons of the SAPS of
police loyal to former national commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Selebi was found guilty of corruption in July 2010.  

Brigadier General Nonkululeko Mbatha, spokesperson for national police commissioner General Bheki Cele, on Wednesday confirmed that police were searching for Mdluli. "There is police action in response to the warrant of arrest," she said.

Love triangle

Mdluli - who is apparently on "sick leave" - could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The revelations come amid a growing corruption scandal implicating senior crime intelligence officers in the illegal wire-tapping of Hawks' investigators probing fraud and murder allegations levelled against alleged Czech "mob boss" Radovan Krejcir.

Krejcir who was arrested on Friday last week after handing himself over to police is expected to apply for bail in the Johannesburg Regional Court next Thursday.

Beeld can reveal that preparations for Mdluli's arrest were set in motion on March 18 following a high-level secret meeting between Hawks investigators and prosecutors including NPA head Advocate Menzi Simelane and the head of the Hawks in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Shadrack Sibiya.

The murder, on 17 February 1999, was allegedly the result of a bitter love triangle involving Mdluli - then the station commander of Vosloorus police station on the East Rand - a young woman known only as Tshidi with whom he had a relationship and the man she married, Oupa Ramogibe.

Ramogibe, who had survived an earlier attempt on his life, was shot to death as he showed police detectives the spot where gunmen had tried to kill him.

According to evidence gathered by the Hawks, Mdluli had a relationship with Tshidi in 1998 and a son was born. Tshidi later met and married Ramogibe.

According to statements taken from Ramogibe's family, repeated threats were made that Ramogibe would be killed if he did not leave Tshidi.

Ramogibe and his wife were forced to flee the township, but Ramogibe was later severely assaulted.

A while later Ramogibe was befriended by a policeman.

One night the man, "Killer" Ximba - who is said to have handed himself over to police on Wednesday night - lent Ramogibe a police vehicle.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on the vehicle as Ramogibe drove home, but he managed to escape unscathed.

On 17 February 1999, despite his fears that police may have been involved in the attack, Ramogibe accompanied a detective to the scene of the shooting.

There he was shot in the "brain, lung and heart".


In a statement, the detective claimed that he and Ramogibe had been approached by two armed men who held them at gunpoint. One of the men suddenly grabbed the detective’s service pistol and shot Ramogibe three times.

The detective allegedly then fled, leaving Ramogibe's body behind.

But an eyewitness at the scene has now given police investigators a statement that sharply contradicts the detective's version of events.

According to the witness, three policemen were seen fleeing the scene shortly after the gunshots rang out.

The case docket was subsequently referred to a court for an inquest into Ramogibe's death to be held, but then disappeared without trace.

Police also have evidence that shortly before his death, Ramogibe was taken from his home by a number of policemen and severely assaulted.


Ramogibe's aunt Eunice Ramogibe, told Media24 Investigations this week that at least 14 members of the family were taken away by police on Tuesday last week.

"We are scared as a family because we don’t know what exactly is going on," she said. "I don’t know whether they are safe or where they are, but they were taken with their belongings."

Even photographs of Ramogibe were removed from his mother's home.

She said Tshidi had died of an Aids-related disease after she contracted the HIV virus when she was gang-raped.

Repeated calls to cellphone numbers for Ramogibe's mother Sophia and brother Mohau went to straight to voicemail.

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