Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Skeletons spill out of Richard Mdluli's closet

19 October, 2011

Seven months after the arrest of police spy boss Richard Mdluli, a number of cold murder and kidnapping cases linked to him and his co-accused are being investigated - some for the first time.

Included in the new investigations is the mysterious disappearance of individuals believed to be crime intelligence informants from Vosloorus on the East Rand more than 13 years ago.

The Times has reliably established that a team of senior Hawks investigators has been ordered to delve into the suspected murky dealings of Mdluli and one of his co-accused in a murder case, Colonel Nkosana "Killer" Ximba.

For the past few months the team has been gathering evidence and compiling dockets, including taking new statements from families of the missing people, victims and police officers who worked at Vosloorus police station where Mdluli and Ximba were previously stationed.

Mdluli and Ximba were notorious during their reign as commanders in Vosloorus and are widely referred to as the "untouchables".

Many of the cases currently unfolding have never been formally investigated because families were too scared to demand police action.

However, sources close to the investigations said the net was "closing in" and that it was just "a matter of time" until the lid was lifted on more criminal activities.

One of the numerous cases currently being investigated involves the disappearance of two men from their Vosloorus homes in 1998.

The pleas for help in tracing their sons by the families of Lunga "Shabba" Khumalo and Thulani "Koli" Shoba have for years gone unanswered.

Khumalo and Shoba - who were 21 and 24 respectively at the time of their disappearance in mid-1998 - were last seen by relatives when Ximba allegedly picked them up from their respective homes in Vosloorus in a police car.

Shoba's mother, Angelina Mtulweni, this week described her battle to determine the fate of her son as 13 years of "hell" and "heartache".

Mtulweni said she had gone to the Vosloorus police station a day after Ximba picked up her son because he had not returned home.
"I told them that my son had not returned after Killer picked him up and they laughed at me and told me to go look for him myself. They warned me that I should not cause trouble," said Mtulweni.

Subsequent visits to the police station proved fruitless.
Mtulweni said she received a telephone call from Shoba about three weeks later. He was crying and said he was in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg. He also said: "They are hitting me".
"The phone was immediately dropped after he said those words and I knew that something bad was happening to Koli," said Mtulweni.

The families visited hospitals and morgues in Johannesburg and even checked with prisons in their bid to trace Khumalo and Shoba.
Mtulweni said her family had lived in constant fear since the call. Every time they went to the police station to make inquiries, gunshots were fired close to their house at night.
"I feared for my other children's safety. No one ever dared mention their [Mdluli and Ximba's] names as you would be dealt with severely," said Mtulweni.

Khumalo's mother, Busisiwe Khumalo, shared the same fears as Mtulweni regarding the police at Vosloorus police station.
Khumalo's family were petrified to make inquiries.
His aunt, Boniswa, said: "We were scared to go to the police. Those policemen are untouchable. Even now, we don't know what can happen to us for talking to you."

The families say Shoba and Khumalo were police informants and suspect their disappearance is linked to their "knowing too much" and possibly having "dirt on senior police officials" at the Vosloorus police station.

Both families are relieved that the matter is receiving attention.

"I just want to know what happened to him and for those responsible to pay for what they did. I want his remains to bury him so that we can have closure. Not knowing what happened to your child is so painful," said Mtulweni.

Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela confirmed that a Hawks team was investigating the disappearance of the two men.
"We are still trying to establish concrete evidence that would enable us to move on this matter," said Polela.
Ximba yesterday said he was unaware of the Hawks investigation and referred to it as a "joke".
"I don't give a damn. I'm tired of this s**t. Let them [the Hawks] just do what they want," he said before putting down the phone.

Shoba and Khumalo's case forms part of a broader investigation by the Hawks.
City Press this week reported that a task team headed by Colonel Piet Viljoen had been assigned by Hawks head Anwa Dramat to investigate the murder charges against Mdluli and Ximba.

Col. Piet Viljoen

Mdluli and Ximba, court orderly Warrant Officer Samuel Dlomo and Colonel Mthunzi-Omhle Mtunzi, were arrested in March this year for another cold murder case from 1999.
They face a raft of charges, including murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to murder, assault, defeating or obstructing the ends of justice, corruption and attempted murder.

Mdluli is alleged to have planned the murder of Oupa Ramogibe. The two were allegedly involved in a love triangle with Tshidi Buthelezi, with whom Mdluli had a child.

The Times understands that another case currently being re-investigated is that of the murder of a Vosloorus man for which Ximba was tried, but then acquitted on the grounds of self-defence.

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